Sopore: Around two years after an army vehicle rammed into a Srinagar-bound passenger cab at Zainakote area, killing seven persons, the families of the accident victims say that the army is trying to shift the case to its own court to avoid trial in the civilian court.
No compensation has been paid to the victim families or the survivors who were crippled in the devastating accident.
A military crane bearing registration number 01P013859W belonging to 51-Rashtriya Rifles collided with a Tavera vehicle (JK01P-1464) at zainakote in the outskirts of Srinagar near Noora Hospital in July 2014. Seven commuters were killed in the accident and two others wounded. Massive anti-army protests were held in the area after the accident.
However, no responsibility was fixed in the accident case and families of victims are struggling for justice. They say that the normal compensation given to accident victims has not been paid.
A writer from Sopore town Dr Ghulam Nabi Dar was among the deceased. His brother Bashir Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that following the tragic death, the family of the deceased is living in a miserable condition. He said the army attempted to shift the case from the civil court. “Our lawyers objected to the army’s attempt sensing the army might influence judgement in its own court,” Dar said.
Dr Dar was on way to his clinic in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar when the vehicle clash ended his life. The 50-year-old is survived by wife, two daughters and a son.
Another victim was 35-year-old Mohammad Rafiq Untoo, who was working at a band-saw machine. His elderly mother Sondri Begum says that Untoo’s wife and two daughters have no financial support.
“The accident did not kill my son alone but our entire family was virtually killed. My elder son is not mentally sound,” Begum said adding nobody came forward to ofer a helping hand to the devastated family.
Mohammad Syed Peer (50), an employee of Power Development department was also killed in the accident. His widow told Kashmir Reader that he was the lone bread-earner of the family. “Two of my five daughters have to leave their education after the tragedy”, she said.
The plight of 35-year-old Naseer Ahmad Mir’s family is even more deplorable. Soon after the impoverished resident of Mumkak Mohalla in Sopore perished in the highway accident, his widow and two teenage sons had to lock their home. One of Mir’s neighbours said that the widow went to her parent’s home after the tragedy snatched their bread-earner.
One of the two survivors of the accident Sheikh Zaid, a resident of Naseem Bagh, Sopore said that the accident dashed his dreams to ground.
Zaid told Kashmir Reader that he was on way to Srinagar to do admission formalities for a course in pharmacy but the accident dashed his dreams.
“I was seriously injured. My jaw-bone and leg was broken. My family had to borrow money from relatives for the treatment that took more than a year for recovery,” he said.
He said that the victims’ families approached the Chief Minister for financial help and investigation into the case but to no avail.
He said he was summoned to an army camp in Bandipora twice for recording statement. “On both occasions I was asked identical questions”, he said.
Zaid walks with the help of a stick but he has not given up hope to survive and struggle. He is working in a local computer shop to earn his livelihood.