Muslims of a village in Kulgam district of south Kashmir performed the last rites of a Kashmiri Pandit, who clung to his roots and refused to leave the Valley when all others in his family fled under threat from militants.
Janki Nath (84), a resident of Malvan in Kulgam, died on Saturday.
In the absence of family member or Kashmiri Pandits, the local Muslims organised last rites of the deceased and mourned his death as one of their own.
Nath, who was the only member of his community living among the 5000 Muslims in Malvan, had decided to stay back when Kashmiri Pandits fled the valley in 1990.
He had retired from government service in 1990, when militancy raised its head in the state.
He was not keeping well for the past five years and Muslim neighbours were taking care of him.
As the news of his death broke, locals were inconsolable.
“We feel we have lost one of our own. He was just like my elder brother and I used to take suggestions from him before taking any step”, Gull Mohammad Alai, a local, said.
Another local Ghulam Hassan said: “To help our neighbours irrespective of their religion is our duty which we performed. We have lost a dear friend who stood with us in the best and the worst of the times.”
His neighbours arranged wood for the funeral pyre and performed his last rites.
The locals said Janki Nath had no regrets about his decision to stay back in the valley.