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An encounter with a terrorist

?It is not for money or promotion that I do this. I?m serving the cause of humanity and Allah is with me.? says Mallah. reports Tejinder Singh Sodhi.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 00:53 IST

His is a story of extraordinary courage, and faith. Bashir Ahmed Mallah has been driving the ambulance at the sub-district hospital in Pattan, Baramulla in north Kashmir on sheer determination for the past 12 years. He had lost his right leg to a bullet way back.

A terrorist had accosted him and demanded the keys to the ambulance. He refused. “It belonged to the government, how could I have given it to him,” he says. Mallah wrestled the man for a while before the hospital staff came out. The ultra shot him in the leg before he left. The incident took place on July 8, 1994. “I was getting ready to take my officer back home in the evening,” Mallah recalls.

He then drove himself to the hospital in Srinagar, his leg bleeding. “There was no one else. I asked a colleague to tie a bandage around the wound and come along. I was in pain and drove as fast as I could. The wound was open and I could feel the blood stream down my leg,” he remembers.

But he could only drive so far, after which they found someone who could steer the vehicle to the hospital, “God had sent him to save me,” he adds. He was unconscious when he was taken to the operation theater and to save his life doctors had no option but to amputate his wounded leg.

He was asked to stop driving. Not one to give up, he decided to go to Orissa. “They fixed me an artificial limb in Orissa. After thorough exercises and tests, I was given a certificate which stated that I was fit to drive,” says Mallah.

He joined back at the hospital soon after he returned and has been on the road since. Happily so. In the past 12 years, he has ferried hundreds of patients to Srinagar for their treatment and is an inspiration for those who know him.

Mallah had joined the hospital as an ad hoc employee. Twelve years on, he is still a temporary staff.

“The officials and the politicians who came to see me back then had assured that I would be regularised. Twelve years have passed, and they haven’t,” he says.

Not that he cares. “It is not for money or promotion that I do this. I’m serving the cause of humanity and Allah is with me.” he says.