Thousands throng Kashmir shrine for ‘desperate’ mobile call

Srinagar: Devastating flood snapped all communication channels in Kashmir before it was restored partially after many days and that too in very few, mainly least affected areas in the Valley.
In the partial restoration of the communication system, this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir had a ray of hope for all those separated from their families and it was atop mountainous shrine in the heart of the Srinagar, the abode of famous and revered saint of Kashmir, Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom(RA), popularly known as ‘Mukhdoom sahib’.
“We are all safe,” Mohammad Yaseen, a resident of Lal Bazar, one of the very few areas spared by the massive spate in Srinagar’s water bodies, cried on his mobile phone, communicating with his son in London.
“Hello, hello…..” he said as very remote telecommunication signal faded at the top of the shrine, situated on the southern side of the Hari Parbat hill.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Yaseen said that he had no other option but to tread more than hundred stairs to reach the top.
The shrine has a gondola for the devotees but due to non availability of electricity and inability of men operating it to reach their duty, it remained grounded.
“I could hear my son weeping. Even though I was able to communicate only few words, they are enough to make him comfortable,” he said.
Bashir Ahmad, his brother, however, was not lucky to communicate with his daughter, stuck along with her husband and two children in Rajbagh area in outskirts of Srinagar.
“What will I do now,” Bashir told his brother as he broke down. “Ya Allah (please protect them),” he shouted.
“Hum theek hai (we are fine),” another man, Mehraj Ahmad, a native of Indian state of Bihar, yelled on his phone, apparently talking to his family back home. Mehraj is working as a labourer in the Valley to make better livelihood.
“With Allah’s grace, we are safe,” Mehraj said as he continued to talk aloud, apparently due to the lack of proper communication signal.
The trio was only a drop in what was sea of people, many of whom include those who took refuge in the shrine as their homes were submerged or devastated by the massive floods.
With minimal space left in the shrine, desperate people, mostly non-local labourers, climbed ‘Kohi Maran’ (Hari Parbat) fort adjoining the shrine to make a call to their families, letting them know that they are not among those claimed by the worst flood hitting the Valley in decades.
The scenes continue to be electrifying and there is a very little change as far as the number of people thronging the shrine as well as the fort was concerned even though some telecom companies have partially restored their operation in the plains of Srinagar.