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Uttar Pradesh village celebrates second Diwali to welcome home 6 sons from Uttarakhand tunnel

Uttar Pradesh village celebrates second Diwali to welcome home 6 sons from Uttarakhand tunnel

Fireworks lit the night sky of UP's Motipur village, when six of its natives, stuck in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi for 17 days, crawled out to freedom.

The people in the village located in Shravasti district celebrated a second Diwali on Tuesday after the news of the rescue reached them.

Ram Milan, Ankit, Satyadev, Santosh, Jai Prakash, and Ram Sundar, all residents of Motipur village, along with 35 others, were trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel after a part of it collapsed on November 12.

They all came out of the tunnel on Tuesday night after a rescue operation that lasted for about 17 days and involved several state and central agencies, expert skills, and brute force.

Ram Milan's son Sandeep Kumar said that as soon as the news of the workers coming out of the tunnel reached the village Tuesday night, people came out of their homes and congratulated each other.

"The atmosphere here is of celebration and joy. The villagers say that they will once again celebrate Diwali with lamps, fireworks and sweets once all the six workers from the village return," he said.

Kumar said that since Tuesday afternoon when the rescue seemed imminent, people, especially those from the Tharu community, had their eyes peeled to the TV screens as they followed each development with bated breath.

Uttar Pradesh government's state coordinator Arun Mishra told PTI over the phone from Uttarkashi that the labourers were going to be taken to AIIMS-Rishikesh for a health check-up.

"All the workers will be taken from here to AIIMS Rishikesh today. There, they will undergo psychiatric examination. Probably, they will be discharged from the hospital on Thursday," he said.

Mishra said that all along their captivity, Akhilesh from UP's Mirzapur made his colleagues do yoga to keep them flexible enough, in line with the instructions given from outside.

"During the rescue operation, we used to talk to some labourers on the phone every day to keep them motivated," Mishra said.

All 41 labourers were on Wednesday afternoon airlifted in a Chinook to AIIMS-Rishikesh for a detailed health check.

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