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Being human: Meet Banihal labourer who has dedicated his life to rescue accident victims on Srinagar-Jammu highway

KM/Special Arrangement

Srinagar: Abdul Majeed, 50, has lost the count of nights when he had to wake-up and crisscross through dangerous ravines to rescue people who met with fatal accidents on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

For a daily wage laborer of Banihal, rescuing people has been a mission since he was a youth. From 1992, Majeed has been working tirelessly to help people who meet with road accidents on the Banihal-Ramban stretch of the highway.

From fishing out bodies to looking for survivors, Majeed has been at the forefront of dangerous rescue missions along the highway.

“I consider it as a duty towards Allah. I am a daily wage laborer who lives along the highway. Since 1992, I have been helping people in whatever way I could. In fact, I take my son and nephews along whenever I receive an SOS call,” he said.

Such is the dedication that he has got his phone number painted at important junctions on the highway so that people in distress could call for help during exigencies. “My phone is always buzzing. I sometimes receive calls during the night for a rescue mission. Sometimes, I tread through treacherous mountains, slippery passes, and slushy hills to rescue people,” he said.

Sample this: In January, Majeed had to rappel 300 feet down the gorge and rescue injured people from ice-cold water at Miller. The vehicle had rolled down the gorge and some of the passengers had died. People called Majeed in the morning and without thinking twice, he rappelled down the gorge and rescued some injured.

“I rushed to the spot and found the vehicle upside down in a deep gorge at Miller. There were still some injured who were crying for help. I roped down and lifted the injured from the gorge. Some people were also missing. Later, I went into the water and fished out the bodies,” he said.

NCRB report 2020 has revealed that 364 people have died in 2140 road accidents on national highways in Jammu and Kashmir followed by 118 deaths on state highways in 2019.  Most of the road accidents occurred in the Chenab valley and on Srinagar- Jammu national highway.

Despite being a daily wager, Majeed has practically proved that money is not what always matters in life. Since his house is located on the highway, he has been at the forefront of providing shelter to people stranded during landslides. 

“My doors are always open. People in distress stay with me whenever the road is blocked,” he said.