Kashmiri Muslims defy curfew to rescue Amarnath pilgrims injured in road mishap
Kashmiri Muslims defied curfew on Wednesday to save the lives of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims injured in an accident on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
A bus carrying pilgrims met with an accident at Sangam near Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. A pilgrim and the driver of the mini-bus died, and more than 20 were injured in the accident.
Hindustan Times could not independently contact the injured pilgrims, but a video purportedly shot by a news channel is being widely shared on social media. Also, a police officer in the Srinagar control room confirmed that the pilgrims were rescued by Muslim locals.
In the video, a pilgrim, who identified himself as Ajit Kumar Arora from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, describes how they were saved by the timely intervention of locals.
“After ‘darshan’..., we were stuck at Baltal base camp for two days as the Yatra was suspended due to the prevailing situation. Yesterday night, we left Baltal along with other vehicles in the form of a convoy,” an injured Arora says.
It was then that the mini-bus met with an accident, but he managed to crawl out of the wreckage. “I...sought help from the other vehicles carrying pilgrims with which we were travelling, but nobody stopped to help us,” he recalls.
He also claims that the army and police personnel in the area did not come to their aid.
“I saw a local and asked him for help. Instead of one, 50 people came rushing to help us. They broke the window panes of the bus and saved us. Otherwise we would have died,” Arora says.
Curfew has been in force, particularly in south Kashmir, for five consecutive days since protests erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter on Friday. As many as 34 people have been killed in clashes between protestors and security forces, and hundreds have been injured.
But the Muslim locals risked their own lives to save the pilgrims, who were taken to a hospital for treatment. “They even ensured our treatment in the hospital,” the pilgrim says.
“If you want to learn humanity, learn it from Kashmiris. Don’t talk bad about them, understand them,” Arora exclaims.
This is not the first time that Kashmiris have come to the rescue of Amarnath Yatris. In 2010, when a severe crisis was sweeping the state, people of the Valley opened their hearts and homes to the stranded pilgrims. They provided them food and accommodation, and even ferried them to the cave shrine.