With hired boat, Rafiq saved dozens of lives in Pulwama

Srinagar: Twenty-six year old Rafiq Ahmad Bhat couldn’t leave Ourkhoo Kakapora in South Kashmir’s district Pulwama after rescuing her trapped sister Mamtaza Bano in recent floods as other local residents cried for help.
Bhat’s sister is married in the village who was trapped in the recent floods in her house along with her three daughters and son. The floods hit this area on September 6.
Bhat, branch manager with HDFC Bank, remained in contact on mobile phone with her sister till late evening of September 6. “She wept and was asking to rescue her family. She was much worried about her children. We waited for the night to pass as we expected authorities would reach the trapped family and rescue them. However, nothing happened,” Bhat, a resident of Khrew, said.
He had to hire a boat at Lehthpora. It was not easy to row a boat in high flow of water and cross the river Jhelum. “The cries of my sister were striking my ears. It was dangerous, risky, but what was important was to act as brother for a sister who had hope that I would reach to rescue her family,” said Bhat.
“On reaching the village I saw people were on roofs. On seeing me, they cried and asked for help. Even some tried to jump into my boat,” he added.
He said that he assured them that he would not leave the place till he rescues the last person in the locality. “After moving my sister and her family to safer place, I stayed in the village for two days and carried on the rescue operation and moved people to safer places,” he said.
He said that some local youth also joined him as locals informed him that a bigger boat was in the village which could be brought in service to ferry more people. He said that they dropped the people at Kakapora railway station where some volunteers had arranged langars for the flood victims. “Most of the people preferred to walk and to reach their relatives’ houses,” he added.

Author Author
Mudasir Yaqoo


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