Kashmir’s Titanic tragedy: Numbing grief overtakes Valley


Srinagar:  Every eye became moist when a group of women recited a heart-wrenching elegy for a mother and her two sons who were fished out of Jhelum after a boat capsized at the Gandbal area in Srinagar.

Cries and shrieks rent the air when a group of men enters a room to take the bodies for last rites. Outside the house, hundreds of people were waiting to bid the final adieu to the mother and her twins Tanvir and Muzamil Ahmad.

Six bodies have been fished out and many others including father and son are still missing. For those whose dear ones are missing, an agonizing wait is getting longer and longer.

A few yards away from the river bank, Masarat is in a disoriented stage. Unable to believe that her son Farhan is missing possibly feared dead, she is telling everyone that her son is soon returning from school. Her cries even made stone-hearted men and women cry.

Thousands of people joined the Namaz-e-Jinaza of the deceased. Amid cries and sobs, the deceased were laid to rest. “It is a tragedy of titanic proportion. Nobody can hold back his or her tears. There is mourning in every lane and by-lane of this area,” said a resident.

A few hundred meters away, hundreds of people are lining up on both sides of Jhelum praying for missing persons. Some are raising hands in prayers and some are crying frantically hoping against the hope for any survivor.

Entire Kashmir slipped into mourning after the news of the boat tragedy broke. Hundreds of people from different parts reached the area to offer Nimaze-Jinaza. “Our hearts are wounded. Tiny tots have gone too soon. Can’t hold my tears,” said Muhstaq Ahmad.

Even social media was full of pictures and videos of the victims. Users paid rich tributes to the departed souls. “May Allah grant you the highest place in Jannat,” said a user on social media with a crying emoji

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Dr Bilal Mohi-ud-din said they are probing how the boat capsized though their primary focus is on search and rescue operation.

“The unfortunate incident occurred between 7.45 am and 8 am. Our reports say that 15 people were on board the boat when it capsized. They include eight adults and seven minors. Six people have died and six others have been rescued. Three of them are undergoing treatment and three others are stable at home. Our reports say three including two children are missing,” he said

Indian army and  Indian Navy’s Marcos too have joined the search and rescue operation. “Four SDRF, two NDRF, two river police, fire and emergency, Marcos and others are carrying out the operation. We have divided the area to locate the missing people,” said Ashish Mishra, SSP Srinagar.

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