SRINAGAR: Two persons waiting to crossover the tunnel and reach home died in Banihal overnight. Both are said to be Kupwara residents.
“They were in their TATA Mobile and we traced one of them died in the morning. SHO Banihal was accompanying us,” Mudasir Ahmad, who runs a voluntary group in Banihal said. “The other person was unconscious and he died while being driven to the hospital. Right now, an autopsy is being conducted on both of them.”
They have been identified as Shabir Ahmad Mir (son of Abdul Rashid Mir) and Majid Gulzar Mir (son of Gulzar Ahmad Mir) of Kralpora in Kupwara. They were in their TATA Mobile (JK09B-7358) and died during the night. Authorities will offer some reason for the deaths after the autopsy is over. In official circles, it is being attributed to suffocation but the residents and the stranded people say it is because of intense cold.
There are around 500 odd vehicles stranded in Banihal and adjoining localities. Most of the people were in their own vehicles as the local hotels are already full. The night witnessed sub-celsius temperature.
After the people stranded in the highway town got the information about the deaths, they broke into a fierce protest, reports from Banihal said. Mudasir said one of their vehicles also suffered loss into the protest. Protesters broke the check post that was stopping the vehicular moment.
While talking to reporters, Block medical officer Banihal Dr Rabia said that they apparently have died of cold.
Reports said the highway may still not be opened because it is too slippery around the tunnel.