“How can I go back there? People are blaming us for the disaster without thinking. They say if we are close to God, then why couldn’t we stop the disaster?”
Vipin along with his daughter and his mother
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“I went last year to Kedaranath. But the behaviour of people towards us has changed entirely. They are alleging that we don’t know our ‘vedas’ and we are not from the priest clan. Though tourism market was already down there, with such allegations it is impossible for us to work.”
“This year, a new batch of villagers – comprising mostly youths – went to Kedarnath, to make a living as pilgrimage priests. This batch doesn’t include many of those priests who had survived the 2013 disaster, witnessed their friends and families die, and came back home traumatised. Most of them have changed their occupation.”