Amid heavy snow, Muslims clear road in Shopian to cremate Pandit neighbour

A narrow snow-covered road leading to the house of Baskar Nath in Pargochi village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district was filled with Muslim mourners.

While young men from the community struggled hard to remove snow from the nearby cremation yard, others were busy arranging logs of wood to prepare the funeral bed for Nath, who breathed his last Saturday morning at SKIMS, Srinagar.

As the news about the death of Nath spread in the village, his Muslim neighbours made frantic calls to the officials of the R&B department requesting them to clear snow from the road.

However, when the officials failed to turn up, the villagers began clearing the road themselves.

“They kept us waiting for hours and we finally decided to clear the snow on our own,” said a local.

As the ambulance carrying the body of Nath got stuck in snow in the neighbouring Wotarpora village, locals ferried the body on a cot.

“While carrying his body on our shoulders, we slogged through the snow for nearly a kilometer”, said Adil Hussain, another local resident.

Soon the locals began arranging the ritualistic items required to perform the last rites of the deceased.

Hussain along with other locals sawed some trees to make the funeral pyre.

A day ago when Nath felt severe pain due to a medical condition, his wife along with a Muslim neighbour took him to a hospital.

Six to seven Kashmiri Pandit families live happily in this village amid communal harmony.