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‘God gave me strength’: Amarnath bus driver Saleem Mirza who was hailed a hero

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said he would nominate the driver for a bravery award for saving the lives of many pilgrims.

Kashmir Turmoil Updated: Jul 12, 2017 09:50 IST
Amarnath bus driver,Amarnath yatra,Amarnath
Saleem Mirza was the driver of the Gujarat-registered bus that came under attack from terrorists in Kashmir’s Anantnag on Monday night. (ANI)

Saleem Mirza, whose bus came under attack in Kashmir’s Anantnag on Monday night, said it was divine power that helped him get through the ordeal.

“God gave me the strength, he gave me the strength to save lives. All of a sudden, they (terrorists) started firing on us, but I kept on driving and did not stop,” said Mirza who was driving the bus.

Survivors from the attack recounted how Mirza had saved their lives by continuing to drive through the hail of bullets.

Seven people died and 21 were injured, but the numbers could have been higher if the bus had stopped.

The incident occurred at around 8:20 pm between Baltal and Mir Bazar when the bus was heading back to Srinagar from Amarnath. Officials said the bus was neither a part of a convoy nor was registered with the shrine board.

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said he would nominate Mirza for a bravery award. Of the seven dead, five were from Gujarat, and the bus was registration from the state.

“We want to thank the bus driver who saved many lives amid heavy firing. The Gujarat government will nominate Saleem for the bravery award with the central government,” Rupani told the media at the airport where he had come to receive the remains of the pilgrims.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 14:58 IST