Truck Driver narrates dreadful tale

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Srinagar:  While narrating the horrific incident which he witnessed in Udhampur Jammu, Rameez Ahmed Bhat the truck driver from Botengo Islamabd in South Kashmir said that the incident will always send chills down his spine as long as he survives on this planet.

Rameez Bhat, who managed to escape unhurt after goons set his truck on fire said he still doesn’t believe he is alive. “The goons wanted to see us dead on spot but fortunately we are still alive. “After unloading our apple laden truck (JK03D-1142) in New Delhi, we loaded  the truck with coal and left for our home. Besides Showkat Dar from our neighbouring Wuranhal hamlet, my conductor, Zahid Rasool Bhat (16) who is also my neighbour was accompanying me. It was around 12 midnight when we reached Udhampur. We decided to halt for the night near a place probably called Shivpur. As we went to sleep, a group of people vigorously started knocking the right and left windows of our truck. When we didn’t open up the windows, they started pelting stones on the truck. Suddenly they smashed the front windshield and lobbed a petrol bomb inside the truck. The truck caught fire and in a bid to save our lives, we jumped from the truck. The goons, who were standing at a distance, chased Showkat and Zahid. While taking advantage of darkness, I hid myself under the truck,” he said.

Bhat added that the goons armed with lathi’s and rods caught hold of Showkat and Zahid and started thrashing them mercilessly. “They pleaded before them but one of them sprinkled petrol over their clothes and another lit a match stick and put them on fire. A single policeman, tried to save Showkat and Zahid but goons beat him up as well. After few minutes, few policemen arrived on spot and tried their best to put out the fire. Both suffered severe burn injuries. It was horrible to watch the charred skin of Zahid and Showkat. Only the head and feet of Zahid were untouched by fire,” he said adding that they were immediately rushed to Udhampur hospital but were later taken to GMC Jammu.

Bhat said that the doctors have advised the authorities to shift both Showkat and Zahid to New Delhi for specialized treatment. “I contacted the families of Showkat and Zahid and narrated them the whole story,” he said.

Ghulam Rasool Bhat, the father of Zahid said that a policeman from Khanabal police station arrived at his residence and informed him about the incident. “I am too weak to travel to Jammu or Delhi. I don’t understand what to do. Rameez, the truck driver called on my mobile and when I insisted to bring my son on line, he replied that except head and feet, the whole body of Zahid has received burn injuries,” the father said.

Ghulam Muhamamd Dar, the father of another victim Showkat Dar SAIDthat he has sent his son Muhamamd Iqbal to Jammu who informed him that Showkat has 40 per cent burn injuries while Zahid has received 65 per cent injuries in the attack.

Meanwhile the Sarpanch Batingo, Muhammad Yousuf said that they will hit roads if stringent punishment is not awarded to the culprits. “I personally intervened and pacified agitated people who were hell-bent to take to roads. If Government will not take strict action against the culprits then it will have serious ramifications and the government will solely responsible for that,” he said  

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