At a time when much of Srinagar is still under curfew, an instance of local residents rescuing an army man from an accident has demonstrated that hatred is still a long way from consuming the Valley.
Sources said residents of Lasjan on the Srinagar-Jammu highway risked their lives to rescue an army driver from the mangled remains of his vehicle after it met with an accident on Sunday. The incident occurred while a convoy of military vehicles was heading to the state’s summer capital.
Mobile videos of the incident went viral on the social media, evoking comments of appreciation from people across the country. The incident seemed particularly heartwarming in the light of all the public manifestations of anti-establishment fury that have found expression on Kashmiri streets since the July 8 killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani.
“The damaged vehicle was on a downward slope, and an electric cable had fallen on it. The driver was stuck inside. Fortunately for us, many local residents – including women – came out to save the jawan,” said an army spokesperson posted in Srinagar.
Elderly women were reportedly heard urging the youth to rescue the driver. “A large number of people gathered at the spot. After disconnecting the high-tension cable from the mains, they used a truck to drag the army vehicle to a safer position. Then they pulled the jawan out of the vehicle,” the spokesperson said.
An officer said he was overwhelmed to see the same people “who usually come at us with such anger” turn into saviors. “It was quite a heartwarming experience,” he added.
Clashes between army personnel and the Kashmiri youth have been a common feature since the day of Wani’s death. As many as 89 people have lost their lives – and hundreds of others crippled – in police firing aimed at quelling anti-India agitations that erupted in the last 93 days.
A curfew was imposed on many parts of Srinagar to prevent escalation of protests after a 13-year-old boy succumbed to pellet gun injuries on Saturday.
Many members of the joint separatist leadership, including hardliners Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah, continue to remain either in police custody or under house arrest. They have extended the protest calendar to October 13.