A pleasure trip of a Delhi family and an Uttar Pradesh (UP) tourist turned turbulent on Sunday evening in Kashmir’s capital Srinagar when gutsy waves, fuelled by wind and rains, on the famous Dal Lake capsized two shikaras (boats). Bay watchers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, locally called riverside police, rescued the tourists from drowning in the lake’s shallow waters.
Around 6 pm on Sunday, a family from Delhi –Muhammad Younis Siddique, his wife Shabnam and son Faisal, residents of Indirapuram, New Delhi --- hired a shikara at Nehru Park on boulevard to have a ride till Kabootar Khana, central point of the lake and a stopover for tourists for food and sightseeing.
“As we started sailing on the lake’s waters, it was raining hard and all of a sudden winds swept away roofs of shikaras including ours,” Siddique told the police.
Around 6:30, another boat carrying Teerath Verma, a resident of Unnoo of UP, saw his boat turning turtle due to strong winds.
“Our riverside police wing spotted the two shikaras capsizing in the lake and we rushed to the spot in our boats and rescued them,” said SDPO Nehru Park Muzaffar Ahmad Shah.
The rowers of the shikaras were able to swim to the shore on their own, but the Delhi family and the UP tourist were going down into the shallow water of the lake.
“Police time intervention saved the lives of the tourists,” the police office said.
It has been raining in Kashmir for the last one week and many a times winds generate waves in lakes, which shikaras find difficult to withstand.
“No shikara has safety tubes in it. I think air-filled plastic tubes can help in such cases and save lives,” said a tourist.