How Muslim Residents Defied Curfew To Rescue Amarnath Pilgrims


SRINAGAR: Keeping the tradition of humanity and hospitability alive, people from a Kashmir highway village risked their lives and rescued 28 Amarnath pilgrims hailing from different Indian states who were injured in a road accident during the wee hours in South Kashmir on Wednesday. 

Eyewitnesses said that two persons, including a yatri and Kashmiri driver died while 28 Hindu pilgrims (Yatris) were injured when a bus (JK02A-5365) coming from Baltal to Jammu collided with a truck (JK01J-6159) at Halmulla, Sangam in tense Anantnag district where more than a dozen people have fallen to bullets of paramilitary forces in last one week.

As the area is under a strict curfew since Friday, witnesses said, the cries of Yatris drew attention of residents who came out in large numbers and  rushed to spot. They took care of the wounded pilgrims, providing them with water and other first aid. The locals arranged private vehicles and rushed them to hospitals defying curfew that was in vogue in wake of violent incidents that have claimed some 40 lives so far mostly in South Kashmir. 


WATCH An Injured Yatri Speaking: ‘I Have Never Seen This Humanity’


“We were moving in a convoy of Yatri buses when we met an accident. None of the buses however stopped. Several military vehicles also passed by but none stopped to help us despite our pleas,” said a Yatri Pawan Kumar , who hails from Meerut, UP.
“We are so grateful to these Kashmiri people who came to our instant help and rescued us. They not only shifted us to hospitals but also paid for our medical treatment,” Kumar admitted in Bones and Joint Hospital Srinagar told reporters. 

Another Yatri Rajeev Kumar Sharma admitted in SMHS Hospital Srinagar was also grateful to locals for saving his life. “These locals saved our lives otherwise we had been dead as the road was deserted,” he said. 

The volunteers from ‘Help Poor Group’ an NGO offered every kind of help to these wounded Yatri’s. “It is our duty and responsibility to help human beings. We did everything to feel them comfortable,” said a volunteer Sheikh Tasaduq Hussain. 

Confirming the incident, a police official said that the bus was carrying 30 passengers. “The driver and a pilgrim died on spot while 28 others are being treated in different hospitals,” the official said and identified the deceased as Parmood Kumar of Uttar Pradesh and driver Hilal Yousuf Mir (19) of Central Kashmir’s Kangan town.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has hailed the exemplary effort of the residents of Halmulla, Bijbehara and the adjoining areas who, amid trying circumstances, helped and evacuated the Amarnath Yatris injured in a road accident.

The Chief Minister while expressing grief and sorrow over the death of a local driver and a pilgrim in the accident, said keeping in with Kashmir’s glorious traditions of communal harmony and brotherhood, the locals of Bijbehara, who themselves were mourning the tragic deaths in recent law and order situation, ignored their personal grief and rushed to the accident spot to rescue the injured pilgrims and shift them to the hospitals.

“This is the uniqueness of Kashmir’s distinct and valued culture, we must all fight to protect,” Mehbooba said and added that it has been seen over the years that while Kashmiris have themselves underwent countless tragedies, they have upheld the highest traditions of brotherhood and amity amid difficult times. “I salute my people for this humanitarianism and compassion and expect to see the same flourishing in future,” she said. 

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