Defying curfew restrictions on Wednesday, local Muslims risked their lives to rescue the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims injured in a road accident on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway No.1 A and carried them to hospitals. The driver of the mini-bus carrying the pilgrims died of injuries after the vehicle met an accident near Bijbehara town in Anantnag district. With the death of the driver, the toll in the highway accident rose to two.
Locals in Bijbehara town, who were mourning two deaths due to recent violence in the Kashmir Valley, ignored their personal grief and the curfew to rush to the accident spot and rescue the injured pilgrims.
“Local Muslims carried the injured pilgrims to a hospital in their private vehicles. Some also carried them to a hospital in Srinagar,” an eye-witnesse told IANS.
Despite being in the throes of violence triggered by the killing of a top militant, Burhan Wani, which left 34 people, including 33 civilians and a policeman, dead in the last four days, the gesture of the Bijbehara locals was exemplary.
Of the 34 people killed in the violence, 32 belonged to south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama while one each belonged to Srinagar and Kupwara districts.
At least two protesters had died in Bijbehara town a day before and tension ran high there on Wednesday. “Despite all the violence around, the locals did not ignore the call of humanity,” an eye-witness said. “This is the uniqueness of Kashmir, we must all fight to protect,” said a resident of the town.