Rafiq also drove under-attack vehicle to safety, but was forgotten

“The CRPF man who suffered multiple bullet wounds fell dead in my lap. I got hit in my left leg and left arm. I pushed the injured trooper back in his seat. Even in such circumstances I drove the vehicle to the police station Pantha Chowk where I jumped out,” Rafiq said.

ABID BASHIR
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 18 2017 12:46AM | Updated Date: Jul 18 2017 12:46AM
Rafiq also drove under-attack vehicle to safety, but was forgottenPhoto: Asrar Bhat/GK

Muhammad Rafiq Khushoo, who drives a passenger vehicle, says that although he did something similar to the Muslim driver from Gujarat who was recently rewarded handsomely for navigating to safety his under-attack vehicle carrying Amarnath pilgrims, he was neither rewarded nor hailed as a hero.

On April 3, militants attacked Rafiq’s vehicle ferrying CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar at Pantha Chowk, killing a soldier.
“The CRPF man who suffered multiple bullet wounds fell dead in my lap. I got hit in my left leg and left arm. I pushed the injured trooper back in his seat. Even in such circumstances I drove the vehicle to the police station Pantha Chowk where I jumped out,” Rafiq said.
Rafiq’s vehicle, which has multiple bullet marks, is still in the possession of the CRPF that has promised him full repair of the vehicle and a job.
However, Rafiq says the vehicle might not be of any use to him personally because his injuries do not permit him to drive it.
“I am not able to walk properly, let alone drive a vehicle,” said Rafiq, 25.
He acknowledges he was provided treatment at the army’s 92-base hospital and police hospital, but forgotten once he went home.
“The 10 CRPF men who were travelling in my vehicle praised me before their director general and other officers. Today, I am not even allowed to meet the IG. Every time I got to visit officers of the CRPF I am told they are busy with the yatra,” he said.
He said he should be provided the job he has been promised as he has “a family to feed”.
A resident of Parimpora, Rafiq is the lone breadwinner for his family comprising his ailing father, mother and a recently divorced sister and her son. He had taken a loan from a bank to purchase the vehicle.
Rafiq said he felt deeply hurt when Saleem, the driver from Gujarat, who awarded Rs 16 lakh by J&K and Gujarat governments, Amarnath Shrine Board and the government of India for bravery. Saleem had driven the bus carrying the pilgrims to a nearby army camp after it came under attack at Botengoo in Anantnag district on July 10.
“I also drove the vehicle despite being hit by a bullet and my reward is that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti didn’t even bother to see me once,” Rafiq said.
CRPF inspector general (operations) Zulfikar Hassan said Rafiq’s compensation case was under process.
 “We have assured him job and we will fulfill our promise,” he said.