Srinagar: “I will never say Modi Ji ‘murdabaad’ (death on Modi) or Omar Abdullah ‘murdabaad’ (death on Omar Abdullah), but I will always say Yasin Malik ‘zindabaad’ (long live Yasin Malik),” Pandith Ajay Kumar, a priest at the temple inside Yatri Niwas, Lal Chowk here, said.
Kumar, who hails from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, said no one except JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and his associates came to his rescue after he was trapped inside the three-storey Yatri Niwas along with his family and nearly 150 paying guests when devastating floods hit Srinagar on September 7.
“The guests were all students who had come to Srinagar for counseling. When the water started rising in Lal Chowk at 9:30 on September 7, I shifted the guest to the top floor, but we could save very little ration from our store in ground floor,” Kumar told Kashmir Reader on Thursday.
Initially, he said, he did not panic and thought that water will not stay for long and that someone will come to their rescue if needed. But the situation turned worse when water level surged above first floor and their ration exhausted by that evening.
“I did not see anyone coming to Lal Chowk till next day for our rescue. There was no rescue operation going on anywhere. Suddenly, on September 8 evening, I saw Yasin Malik along with his associates in a makeshift boat visiting Yatri Niwas. He provided us ration including rice, flour, biscuits, pulses, drinking water and even candles,” said Kumar.
He said that his 12-year-old son is suffering from a particular disease and he needs a particular medicine as a long term regular medication, but that day he had nothing to give him.
“I requested Yasin Sahib if he could arrange that medicine. He told me not to worry and that night at 9:30 pm he appeared in the boat again with a strip of tablets,” Kumar said.
For next three days, he said, Yasin Malik made several visits to the Yatri Niwas and offered every service.
“I don’t know who Yasin Malik is. Whether he is a politician or anything else, but I can say that he was sent to us from Baghwan (God),” said Kumar. He said that in his hometown of Ayodhya, the Hindus consider Muslims as “second grade citizens, but in Kashmir it was Muslims who helped the Hindus and saved their lives.”
“My mother is very superstitious, she had never taken any food touched by a Muslim before, but in floods she had to take food brought by Muslims,” said Kumar.
He said he had every reason to shower praises on the JKLF chairman Malik as no one except him came to their rescue in floods. On fourth day when the water had receded substantially his paying guests left the Yatri Niwas for airport after walking through water.
“More than three weeks have passed since floods but I have not received any help from the people of my own community. Not even from the trust which runs this Yatri Niwas here. I know lot of Hindu bureaucrats in Kashmir who come for ‘puja’ here, but no one has so far enquired about our condition,” said Kumar.