Kashmiris from various religious communities, united in grief in the aftermath of the worst floods to hit the state in nearly 100 years, are helping each other deal with the tragedy.
In Srinagar, Kashmiri Muslim volunteers have been spearheading the relief operation in Durga Nag Temple, where several Kashmiri Pandit families have taken shelter. 45 such families from different parts of Srinagar are camping in the temple complex, which has turned into a make-shift relief centre after floods ravaged the valley.
Often short on resources, the relief camp is run largely with the material supplied by volunteers, among them many local Muslims who chip in with food materials and blankets for the Pandit families.
“We are all united this time, nobody thinks of himself as a Muslim or as a Hindu. The flood has brought us together, on one platform, and when we are united we will be able to deal with any situation,” said Dr Shafqat Khan, a local volunteer
“If we would not have had Muslim brothers supporting us, what would we have done? We got help from the local orphanage as well. What a nightmare it has been for us, we have wept all through,” said Chunni Ganjoo, a survivor camping at the Durga Nag temple.
Local Muslim volunteers have also set up a medical camp for Kashmiri Pandits. But with little help coming from the administration, the Durga Nag relief camp, like many others in the Valley, is still struggling with shortage of supply of relief material.
“We have not received much help from the government. We just have got 5 per cent of the material and are short by 95 per cent. We need ration, water purifiers, warm clothes and medicines,” said Rakesh Bhat, a volunteer.
At a time when not too much relief material is finding its way to the camps of Kashmiri Pandits like this one, Kashmiri Muslims and local volunteers are coming forward and contributing their bit. And after the floods, the bond between different religious communities in Kashmir seems to be stronger than ever.