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7 feared dead as boat capsizes in J&K

Seven people including two women are feared dead when a boat ferrying 12 passengers capsized in river Jehlum.
Hindustan Times | By Tejinder Singh Sodhi
UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2007 02:25 PM IST

Seven people including two women were feared dead when a boat ferrying 12 passengers capsized in river Jehlum in Jahama village of Baramulla district of north Kashmir late Wednesday night.

As per the eyewitnesses a boat carrying 12 passengers capsized in river Jehlum at around 8:30 pm when it was returning from Jahama village to Ladoora.

"At around 8:30 pm last night we heard a huge hue and cry coming from the riverside so we rushed to the spot and were shocked to see the capsized boat and people struggling for their lives.” Said Nasir Ahmed a resident of Jahama village and an eyewitness.

Adding he said, "some civilians along with few army jawnas who were on a patrol duty jumped into the river and saved five people from drowning, however it was quite dark so we could do nothing to save other people."

After hearing the news top police and civil officials ran towards the spot to carry out rescue operation, however the rescue operations could not be initiated because of poor visibility.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Senior Superintendent of Police (Baramulla), who along with Deputy Commissioner were first to reach the spot said, "I have been monitoring all the development since last night, we had to abandon rescue operations because it was too dark outside and the water level of the river was too high."

Adding he said, "so far we have fished out one dead body whereas six people are still missing. We fear that the missing people are also dead. With the first light we have again started the rescue operation and a team of Indian Navy from Watlab had also arrived to assist us in the rescue and search operation."

A pall of gloom descended in the village as the news of the boat capsize spread in the area, people started gathering in large number on both sides of the river to help in rescue operation.

Relatives of the missing people were desperate to get the news about their missing kin who had taken the boat to reach back home.

"Since last night I have searching for my missing brother, I don’t know whether he is alive or not, but we want his body as our family is now prepared for any worst news," said Bashir Ahmed, a resident of village Ladoora.

Meaning the people in the area staged a protest demonstration and rose anti-government slogans for what they blamed the apathy of district administration for not constructing a bridge on the river.

“If our demand of a bridge on the spot would have been fulfilled, the incident would have not happened. We have been demanding construction of a bridge at this very place for years. Boat is the only means of connectivity to our village with Baramulla town on the other side of the river.” Said Sajad Ahmed, a local resident.

At the time of filing this report, rescue and search operation was still going on, Navy divers and boats were engaged to look for the missing people.

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