Amid tragedy, fear of looting grips locals

  • Sukhdeep Kaur, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 12, 2014 00:45 IST

The fear of being robbed of their household goods has apparently forced several Kashmiris to stay put in their homes in flooded areas even as authorities scramble to rescue others.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) director general OP Sharma said the resistance of people to leave their homes was one of the many challenges his team faced.

"But they will eventually need to go out of their houses. We have rescued many families after persuading them to do so in nearly 7-8 localities. We are sending more boats to speed up rescue operations," he added.

A young couple and their son, who waved frantically at a NDRF rescue boat asking for water, replied with a defiant ‘no’ when asked if they wanted to be ferried away from their flooded home to safety.

Residents of Srinagar’s affluent Rajbagh with its sprawling bungalows, guest houses and high-end shops, live in fear of theft.

It is one of the worst-affected areas and water levels still reach the second floor. Locals say gold chains, TV sets and refrigerators have been stolen from homes.

Some residents who have been taken to higher ground have hired local boats to bring back their belongings or check on their properties.

A group of eight secretariat employees from Jammu marooned atop Blue Diamond guest house in Rajbagh initially refused to be evacuated saying that they were safer in the guest house as there was no way to reach Jammu anyway.

They finally agreed to get on to the boat after NDRF personnel reassured them that army airplanes were flying flood victims to Jammu.

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