When civilians rescued policemen— from rooftops, chinars and wardrobes

When civilians rescued policemen— from rooftops, chinars and wardrobes

IQBAL KIRMANI

SRINAGAR: While most ministers and officials of the state run away from the flood affected localities on September 07 their security guards manning houses were kept there on the assurance that they will be rescued later.
Four days in the marooned water and they did not receive any help. The water level had by that time inundated two storeys and there was no sign of promised help.
Meanwhile four men of Ikhrajpora had geared up to help and rescue their locality people. During their rescue they saved not only common people but saved police guards some of them who were stranded in wardrobes, rooftops and few on trees.
Sameer Ahmad, a teacher at a private school and an imam in a local mosque lead the four member team in deluged Ikhrajpora colony neighbouring Radio Colony and government quarters where the officials of the government reside. Sameer was accompanied by Mohammad Yousuf popularly known as Younis, Peer Zafar and Basharat Ahmad.
Narrating the incident how a constable Mohammad Salim was saved from quarter number J-16, Basharat says, “It was at 9 pm and I was returning home in my boat when a friend asked me to stay at his residence for night. I stopped there as it was dangerous to move forward in the night.”
Basharat stayed at Salim Abdullah’s house where some 15 men had found refuge among them some policemen too. “At around 11:30 pm a police man asked permission to smoke,” Basharat says. “While he was smoking on the terrace of second floor he heard screams asking for help, he ran inside narrating what he heard,” Basharat said.
They followed the voice and entered the quarter where former forest minister Ghulam Mohiudin Sofi lives. “We found Salim in a wardrobe. He was in a neck deep water,” said Basharat. They evacuated him and took him along to the place where they were staying. It was 12 am the intervening night of September 10 and 11.
The policeman was bulky. His two associates had abandoned him.
“His body was giving up so we lit up fire around him on the slab to warm him,” he said. The rescued constable had not eaten anything for four days. Next day they handed him over to police on the Rajbagh bund. “Its pathetic none of his friends came to his rescue,” Sameer commented.
“What is injurious to health saved a precious life in a different way,” Yousuf quips.
While roving through the colony and around, Sameer and his team found two policemen stationed in the IT minister, Feroze Khan’s quarter stranded on a chinar tree. “Younis brought them down and took them in boat to bund,” said Sameer. “It was God’s grace that we were there on time otherwise they would have died there,” said Yousuf alias Younis.  On the same day they saved a police man from the rooftop of the Radio colony also.
Sameer not only rescued people but for all the days he and his team would supply water and relief material to the households.
“We would collect the material from bund and drop them in houses,” Peer Zafar said.
After the floods receded the four men team started to clean the locality. “We did not wait for anyone to come and clean our locality. It is place we live in so it is our duty to clean all the debris,” Yousuf said. They fumigated the whole locality, cleaned houses and roads themselves.
When government announced that 50 kilograms of ration will be provided to every household the four-men team decided to distributed it door to door without letting people wait in queue. “It gets messy when people assemble at a single place,” said Sameer.
“We know each and every house so we delivered the rice bags to all the 360 families,” he said.
The work for these four men have not ended they still receive the ration supply from the government and drop it at the doorsteps of the entire household.
“People are in very bad situation and asking them to line up to collect ration seems a bad idea. So let them do their work we will make sure that they get what is meant for them,” commented Zafar.
Two dogs who used to roam the locality and are known as Govinda and Krish in the area, were also struck on a slab during the deluge. “They were stuck at two different places. We dropped bread and water daily to the places they were struck,” Sameer said.
When this reporter left Ikhrajpora, Govinda the local dog followed Sameer. “He now follows us whenever he finds us walking.”
When asked how many did you save Sameer caustically remarked, “Who keeps numbers in such times.”

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