At a time when the extreme cold weather in Kashmir has led to freezing of Dal and Nigeen lakes in Kashmir, many people are risking lives just for the sake of fun and internet fame by walking over these iced-up water bodies.
People living in the vicinity of Dal and Nigeen lakes said that youth and children flock there to walk over these frozen lakes. “Even as the Srinagar district administration and Kashmir Disaster Management have been issuing advisories asking people not to indulge in such activities, but there is hardly any effect of such advisories on the ground,” they said.
“The young people are mostly driven by the internet fame that they get on social media through their pictures and videos of walking over the frozen water bodies, Shafaat Ahmed of Hazratbal said.
He said that the children are playing cricket and cycling on the frozen Dal lake. “One never knows when a mishap may occur. We want authorities to take strict action and the parents to show sense of responsibility.”
The pictures showing tourists and local boys doing different activities on the frozen lake have gone viral on social media. Few days back a picture of a Shikara wala walking at the center of Dal lake while his boat resting next to the frozen sheet of ice went viral. Although some people found that amusing, others were critical of the act and also questioned measures taken by the government to tackle these activities.
“The person is standing alone in the middle of Dal lake. God forbid, if anything happens, who will rescue him. People should not risk their lives for just a click and internet fame,” Mohsin, a facebook user wrote.
Chairman, Nigeen Lake Conservation Organization, Manzoor Ahmed Wangnoo said that strict action by the administration can help curb this practice. “It is equivalent to suicide. Unless administration penalizes those indulging in it, nothing will change on the ground,” Wangnoo said.
Director Disaster Management Kashmir, Amir Ali Mir said that the department has tied up with local bodies to increase the vigil on such activities. “We have pressed our Quick Rescue Teams (QRTs) for patrolling and rescue in case of such happening. The teams are stationed at Nehru Park and we have tied up with local volunteers so that patrolling can be increased.
“We want cooperation from everyone, particularly parents so that any unfortunate event can be averted. It is not possible to keep an eye on every inch of Dal lake so we have tied with Dal dwellers, volunteers and other local bodies. People don’t take the risks seriously and we are doing our best to educate them,” Mir said.