Nine officials of the Sheep and Animal Husbandry department were killed on Tuesday when the vehicle they were travelling in fell into a deep gorge near Sinthan Top on Kokernag- Kishtwar road in south Kashmir.
According to the police, the ill-fated vehicle was travelling from Warwan to Kishtwar in Jammu region after organising a special camp of the department to facilitate better medicare to the live stock in the area.
"Apparently, the driver lost control over steering while negotiating a curve and skidded off into a gorge. Nine employees, including driver of the vehicle, were killed,” said the police spokesman.
The police identified the dead as district officer Mohammad Rafiq Akhoon, Dr Aamir Kamal, Mohammad Rafiq Akhoon, Irshad Ahmed Wani, Driver Mansoor Ahmed, Abdul Rehman Reshi, Sat Lal, Ramesh Kumar, Ahmadullah and Ghulam Nabi.
Minister of state for Animal and Sheep Husbandry Nazir Ahmad Gurezi expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident.
“The killing of the staff members of the department has created a vacuum which cannot be filled for a long time,” he said.
Minister of state for Home, Industries and Commerce, Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, who hails from Kishtawar, also expressed deep shock and grief over the tragic accident.
Kichloo, who reached the spot after the news of the accident, also visited Kishtwar and expressed his sympathies and solidarity with the bereaved families.