While people in Kashmir cherished the first snowfall of the season, Mohammad Rafiq Bhat an employee of Mechanical Engineering Department was busy with the snow clearance in Chattergul area of Shangus in South Kashmir’s Islamabad district. The assignment turned out to be the last one for Bhat.
The snow cutting machine developed a snag and Bhat was assigned to repair it. Unmindful of the falling snow and what destiny had in store for him, Bhat was busy repairing the machine and did not realize how the machine fell upon him. Grievously injured he was rushed to Islamabad district Hospital but was declared brought dead by the doctors at the hospital.
A father of five, including two toddlers and a couple of month’s old baby; Bhat had promised his wife to be back home in the evening. He did return but dead. Bhat was the lone earning hand of the family. He lived in a dilapidated brick hut in Pazalpora area of Bijbehara in Islamabad district, with his family.
Left by his well to do brothers after his parents died, Bhat earned little to keep his family fed. He however was very dedicated towards the work he did and that’s what made him to leave home in the middle of a heavy snow fall and be present at the site of his duty.
The family has been rendered helpless after Bhat’s death in the line of duty. With five kids and nobody to earn Bhat’s wife is staring at a long hard life ahead of her.
The government took notice of this brave man’s work; who lost his life while trying to make the lives of other’s better.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed solidarity with the victim’s family and praised the commitment of the deceased employee towards his service. He also announced a relief of one lakh rupees for his family.
However the neighbors and friends of the deceased express their dissatisfaction with whatever little the state has done for him.
“How long is this one lac Rupee going to last for the family of six people,” Bhat’s neighbors question, “Some concrete steps should have been taken to make the life of the family better.”
The lady has to feed a family of five kids besides herself and the compensation from the state is not going to suffice, the neighbors added.
“Such people are our heroes and heroes should not be treated with so much indifference,” said a local in Pazalpora area.
– Faisal Shabir Bhat