Amid COVID19, Muslims perform last rites of Kashmiri Pandit woman

People of a village here on Thursday participated in last rites of an octogenarian Kashmiri Pandit woman.

Rani Bhat, an elderly woman from Kaloosa village died a natural death on Wednesday evening.

Residents of Kaloosa and those from neighbouring villages while maintaining social distance visited the family and extended their help in making all the arrangements for cremation besides giving solace to the bereaved family.

The deceased is survived by two sons. One of her son is working in Kashmir University while another is a lecturer. The family, along with few other Pandit families had not migrated from the village. Instead they are peacefully living with Muslim neighbors.

Ravi Kumar, son of the deceased woman said, before he reached home on Wednesday evening, he found people from the village and adjoining areas having already assembled there.

“The affection shown by people despite pandemic is testimony to age-old brotherhood between different communities in Kashmir,” Kumar said. He said all arrangements for the last rites were made by his neighbours and people were consoling the family as if they had lost their own family member.

The deceased Woman’s other son said majority of their relatives were settled in Jammu and other parts of the country.

He said though they were informed about the death but could not attend the last rites due to the prevailing pandemic.  “However, locals participated in the last rites of my mother in large number and gave her a memorable adieu,” he said.

One of the neighbors of the Pandit family said the family never migrated from Kaloosa all these years. He said despite adversities, the family stood firm and showed faith in coexistence.

“The family is respected by all here. They had been living through thick and thin with their neighbours. How could have we remain away when the tragedy struck the family. Her death is great loss to our locality,” said Ghulam Hassan.

Kaloosa is located in main Town of Bandipora. Before the onset of turmoil in 90s more than 50 Pandit families were residing in the area. However, majority of them have migrated and only five families are now peacefully coexisting with their Muslim neighbours.