When flood waters swept away graves, gravestones

When flood waters swept away graves, gravestones

Srinagar, Oct 5: Amid tears, Ghulam Muhammad rummages through affected portions of a graveyard in the premises of Budshah Tomb in Old Srinagar to find out the graves and gravestones of his deceased parents. But his efforts yield no result as the September 7 deluge has swept away a large chunk of this graveyard including mortal remains of many persons who were laid to rest here.

Located on the banks of river Jhelum at Maharaj Gung, the graveyard is thronged by relatives of those buried there. Skeletal remains of many bodies are scattered in the damaged portion of the graveyard. “This flood has shattered my life,” said 68-year-old Ghulam Muhammad, pointing towards several gravestones swept away by the flood waters.

“For the past several decades I have been frequently visiting this graveyard to offer Fateha (prayers) for my parents. But now even their graves have been washed away by the deluge. 

I feel like I have lost my parents again,” he said and broke down.

Jostling through the washed away portions of the graveyard, he tries to move towards the scattered epitaphs but some people stop him as the debris has started to skid off towards the adjacent river Jhelum. The river crossed a record 23-feet mark in Srinagar on September 6, submerging habitations on its both sides.

“As flood waters in river Jhelum passed through this locality, the wall surrounding the graveyard collapsed. It was a horrible sight when epitaphs and mortal remains were swept away by the raging waters,” said Nazir Ahmad, a local.

Like Ghulam Muhammad, several other people are not able to control their emotions on seeing the graves of their loved ones ‘missing’. “Where is my father’s grave?” yelled a youth.  “His grave was located near the wall that has collapsed.”

Locals now demand that the government should repair the graveyard.

“If it doesn’t, we will pool our resources to do the job. After all it is our religious duty to maintain graveyards,” said a group of locals.