In the land that poets once called paradise, several beleaguered Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir have found their own angels — Muslims who set aside their agony to take care of them in their hour of need. As the Valley singed following violent clashes between protestors and security forces, neighbourhoods echoed with wails, marriages were cancelled, hospitals got filled with the injured, and people — local residents and travellers, thousands of them Hindu pilgrims bound for the Amarnath shrine — were stuck in curfew.
The Yatra was finally resumed a couple of days back, after the region had witnessed 38 deaths during protests following top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's death in an encounter on July 8. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed for calm, and three days later, the state government announced the resumption of the Yatra to the Amarnath shrine at Baltal in Pahalgam, South Kashmir. The 25,000 pilgrims who were stranded in Jammu and an equal number who were stuck in the Valley finally looked forward to the journey.
One of the batches of the pilgrims, however, met with an accident. The relief felt by them now seemed to be short-lived. Little did they know that the heartwarming spirit of Kashmiriyat is, however, eternal.
The pilgrims were rescued by the local Muslims of the area and admitted to a hospital in Srinagar. "We didn't even have enough money for the treatment," one of the pilgrims said. "But the people who rescued us assured us that they will take care of the hospital expenses, and pay for our return home as well."
A Uttar Pradesh-based pilgrim also narrated his experiences during the troubled times. The empathy showed by the local people touched him so much that he wants to visit the Valley again with his family.
— Sair Mir (@sairmir) July 13, 2016
Another woman pilgrim who was injured during the accident was attended by a Srinagar-based women in the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital.