They tried to save the one who first fell into the trench
Suhail A Shah
Anantnag: Filling the Utterasoo area of Shangus with dread and gloom, four people died on Sunday after they jumped into a sewage trench filled with poisonous gas, to save the person who first fell into the trench and is battling for life at a local hospital in this south Kashmir district.
The deceased include a mother-son duo and two brothers, one in his teens and another in early twenties.
They have been identified as 50-year-old Shameema Akhtar, wife of Muhammad Maqbool Khan, their 22-year-old son Sabzar Ahmad Khan, their neighbours – 18-year-old Zahid Ahmad Ahangar and 21-year-old Muhammad Umar Ahangar – both sons of Ghulam Muhammad Ahangar.
Muhammad Maqbool Khan is the one battling for his life at District Hospital Anantnag.
A doctor at the hospital told Kashmir Reader that they have died after inhaling a poisonous gas in the trench.
“It is called asphyxiation (suffocating due to lack of oxygen in medical terms),” the doctor said.
A senior police official from the area confirmed the tragic turn of events while talking to Kashmir Reader. He said the incident took place at about 10:30 am Sunday morning in Khanpora village of the area.
“Maqbool had opened up his sewage trench to administer some repairs to it. Unfortunately, he fell into the trench after inhaling some poisonous gas emanating from inside the ditch,” he said.
The official said Shameema and her son Sabzar were looking at Maqbool from a distance and when he fell in the trench, the mother son duo instinctively jumped into the pit in a bid to save him.
“By then the Ahangar brothers, neighbours of Maqbool, also heard cries and rushed to help. They jumped into the pit as well,” the official said adding that all five fell unconscious inside the trench after they raised hue and cry.
Their cries had attracted the attention of many villagers who rushed to help and after strenuous efforts the villagers managed to pull all five of them out.
All of them were evacuated, in an unconscious state, to the nearby hospital in Shangus where Shameema was brought dead. The other four, local sources said, were taken to Anantnag District Hospital where everyone barring Maqbool was declared dead on arrival.
“We are treating Maqbool, but his condition remains critical,” the doctor at the hospital said. The four bodies have been taken back to Khanpora where thousands of people assembled to take part in their last rites.
The incident has sent shockwaves across the area.
“The whole area is in mourning. People are yet to absorb the shock of the whole incident,” a local Muhammad Ismail told Kashmir Reader.