New Delhi: District authorities visited the families of three of the 15 miners, who have been trapped in a flooded coal mine in the state for more than a month, stating their "inability" to evacuate them. The authorities, however, did not mention whether the miners were dead or alive. F.M. Dopth, Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills district, informed Jostina Dkhar, the mother of Dimonme and Melambok, and Rita Dkhar, the mother of Shalabas, when he visited them at Lumthari village.
"The Deputy Commissioner met my sisters this evening at their residences at Lumthari village and expressed the authorities' inability to evacuate my nephews who are trapped inside the coal mine," said Pressmeky Dkhar, the uncle of the two brothers.
"The DC did not say whether they are dead or alive but asked my sisters to consult the clan members and inform him about the decision," Dkhar said.
The three cousins from Lumthari were among the 15 trapped miners, with seven others coming from villages under Rajabala constituency in West Garo Hills, and five coming from the neighboring state of Assam.
"We only want the bodies of Dimonme, Melambok, and Shalabas to be taken out from the mine so that we can give them a decent burial according to our religious rites," Dkhar said.
"The DC did not say whether they are dead or alive but asked my sisters to consult the clan members and inform him about the decision,"
While rescuers were pumping out several liters of water with effective high-power from pumps, the level of the 370-feet-deep "rat-hole" had not lowered fast enough. A team of rescue personnel from the Odisha Fire Services brought high-powered pumps with them. The Indian Navy used underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle's (ROV) to find the body of one miner earlier this week.
Earlier this week, the families of the trapped miners reportedly said that as per the Supreme Court order, they want the "dead bodies" of the miners to be taken out.
Expressed dissatisfaction with the rescue operation, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer ordered: "No matter whether they (trapped persons) are all dead, some alive, a few dead or all alive, they should have been taken out by now. We pray to God that they all are alive."