Millennium Post

Tourist guide dies while saving five from drowning, 'demonstrates real Kashmiriyat'

Srinagar: Displaying the true traditions of 'Kashmiriyat', a tourist guide sacrificed his own life to save five people, including two visitors from West Bengal, after their raft capsized in Lidder river flowing through the picturesque South Kashmir resort town of Pahalgham. Rouf Ahmed Dar, a registered professional rafter, cared little for his life and jumped into the river when the raft overturned near Mawoora after it was caught in a sudden gusty winds.

The five people, three locals and a couple from West Bengal, were onboard the raft when the tragedy struck it Friday evening at the rafting point in Pahalgham, 96 kms south of Srinagar. Quoting eyewitness, officials said that Dar, who was escorting the couple as a tourist guide, had initially swam to safety. But on seeing the others getting drawn into the the water, wasted no time and jumped into the water again and managed to save them, they said.

A search and rescue operation was launched immediately afterwards and teams of State Disaster Response Force were joined by the police and locals. The searches continued until late hours, but were abandoned due to darkness, they said. The body of the brave tourist guide was retrieved Saturday morning near Bhawani bridge and was handed over to his relatives after medico-legal formalities, they said.

"It was actual demonstration of Kashmiriyat, which teaches love brotherhood and care, displayed by Dar, who successfully saved five people including two domestic tourists, in the true spirit of trademark Kashmiri hospitality," said Deputy Commissioner (Anantnag) Khalid Jehangir. The two tourists — Manish Kumar Saraf and Sweta Saraf hailing from Nandan Nager, Kolkata — were taken to Srinagar. They said they have got a second life thanks to Dar, a senior police official said.

State tourism in-charge and the advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik Khursheed Ganai offered his condolences on loss of Dar's life. "Without caring for his own life, Dar braved strong currents of river Lidder to save five people from drowning. It was an ultimate sacrifice one can offer."

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