SRINAGAR: Manpreet Singh’s heart was not at peace even after sol¬diers rescued her and her two minor children from her Muslim neighbour’s f looded house at Jawahar Nagar on September 7. The reason was that the soldiers had refused to take her husband along and left him with the strand¬ed neighbour.
“It was dark when the sol¬diers dropped us at Rambagh Bund. I was praying for a miracle to happen. The next morning some young boys came up to me and offered help. They stole an army boat and took me to Jawahar Nagar and rescued not only my husband but several oth¬er people,” Manpreet says, standing outside the remains of what used to be her three-storey house.
“For us our neighbours are our saviours. I’m proud of Kash¬miri Muslims who did much more than we had expected. If we are alive it is because of their help,” she added.
Her husband, Inderjeet, said that around 8.30 am on September 7 the flood waters had drowned the ground floor of the house. The family had shifted the belongings to the second floor.
“The water level was rising rapidly. In the meantime the roof made a strange sound and I knew we were in trouble. I told my wife that we are leaving the house. We waded through neck-deep waters, children on our shoulders, to the house of our Muslim neighbour Abdul Ha¬mid,” said Inderjeet, who runs a business in Rangreth area.
“While we were heading toward Hamid’s house, a huge kerosene tanker passed by us and rammed into a CRPF vehicle. We survived miracu¬lously,” he added. But the worst was yet to come.
As soon as he reached Ha¬mid’s house, his home, where he was born and brought up, collapsed.
“In just two minutes our world came to an end. My wife and my daughter Taneesha who is nine years swooned when they saw the house falling. Then one after another more houses col¬lapsed. It brought shivers down our spine,” he said. The family lost everything.
“We couldn’t even fetch warm clothes for our kids,” he said.
Terming the claims of res¬cue work by the government as a ‘bad joke’, Inderjeet said that in the most difficult times the locals came to each other’s rescue.
“Government is lying. Choppers only came for VIPs and their relatives. The lo¬cals were left at the mercy of God,” says Inderjeet, while decrying the compensation of Rs 75,000 announced by the government.
“The compensation is an in¬sult. The labourers want Rs 1.25 lakh for clearing the debris of my house. Where will we go in the harsh winter?” he said.