Army hails efforts by locals
Srinagar, March 1: A pall of gloom descended upon Warnow and Dardpora villages of Lolab in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district after bodies of the three persons retrieved under the snow mass at Lashkote forest area reached their respective families.
Reports reaching GNS said the bodies of the trio Ghulam Mohammad Lone (37) son of Ali Mohammad Lone, Mohammad Altaf Mir (25) son of Bashir Ahmad Mir resident of Warnoo, Lolab and Bashir Ahmad Ganaie (28) son of Ghulam Rasool resident of Dardpora, Lolab, who were buried in avalanche on Saturday last week, reached their respective villages Thursday evening for last rites.
On Saturday five persons had gone to the area for hunting. As the avalanche struck, the two among them had a miraculous escape while three others were buried under it.
Earlier, in the day, the Sub Divisional Magistrate Lolab Ahmad Hussain Bhat had told GNS that bodies of the trio was recovered from snow by a special rescue team which was deputed to the area on Wednesday.
SDM said he had requested the Deputy Commissioner Kupwara to take up the matter regarding the arrangement of the helicopter for carrying the bodies from the area.
“Otherwise it was impossible to carry the bodies from that place to main Lolab area,” he said.
A senior army officer of 18 RR under whose supervision the rescue operation was being carried out had said that the special rescue team of army, equipped with the latest technology and having expertise in dealing with such situations, retrieved the bodies of the missing trio under the snow mass.
Earlier, a rescue team comprising of police, army and SDRF had returned back owing to the lack of expertise even though they spent two days to reach the place but couldn’t trace the bodies due to challenging circumstances.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said that DC Kupwara, local police and army unit had made separate correspondence to the army higher-ups regarding providing of choppers to carry the bodies to Lolab from the avalanche site in Lashkote.
“The army didn’t decline the demand but keeping in view the challenging conditions and inclement weather, the chopper option was not feasible as it would have created problems during landing,” the police officer said. “There is about 7 feet snow (in Lashkote forest) and it would have been impossible for the chopper to land.”
The officer said that a new team of 35 persons, including 10 from JK Police and 20 local volunteers, were deputed and were asked to reach the halfway to assist those carrying the bodies from the avalanche site.
“The teams who were part of the rescue operation included police, army, SDRF and civilian volunteers. The rescue was carried out under the supervision of DSP Lolab Sarfaraz Ahmad, Army’s 18 Commander and SDM,” he added.
Later in the evening, a large number of people, who were waiting, took the bodies in a procession towards their respective places.
While women were seen wailing and beating their chests, men were screaming to mourn the deaths.
Thousands of people attended the funeral of the trio who were laid to rest amid sobs and tears. GNS