At around 5:30 pm Saturday, Ghulam Rasool Khan, 50, and his four neighbours were ferrying Khan’s ailing son on a cot to home in Shadab Karewa, a village nestled atop a hill in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Plodding uphill, Khan suddenly felt breathless and collapsed. Soon his neighbours put the cot down on high mounds of snow and rubbed his chest but failed to revive him. Khan died even before he could be taken to a hospital.
On January 8, he had taken his young son Suhail Ahmad battling cancer to SKIMS, Srinagar for a chemotherapy session. After going through the chemo session, they returned to Shopian town Saturday evening.
As most of the roads in the district continued to remain buried under the snow, Khan called some of his neighbours in his village who rushed to the town along with a cot to ferry his son home.
“We put him on a chairpai and started walking through snowy roads,” said Sharifuddin, one of Khan’s neighbours.
He said that after covering a few kilometers, Khan’s feet became shaky but he continued shouldering the cot. “As we reached near a graveyard, barely half a kilometer away from the village, Khan collapsed and died,” Sharifuddin said.
Abdul Ghani, another neighbour of Khan, who was shouldering the cot, said that the snow-covered road leading to their village was not made motorable even after several days of snowfall. Many intra-district roads continue to remain buried under the snow, causing much trouble to the patients.
In another village of the district, a health worker died of a heart attack. A resident of Durpora, Zainpora village told Greater Kashmir that 45-year-old Abdul Aziz Bhat died after suffering a massive heart attack.
He said that he was not immediately taken to the hospital as one of the link roads was yet to be made motorable. “The critical golden hour was lost due to the partially-cleared road,” he said.
An official informed Greater Kashmir that all priority-I roads, which include Shopian-Srinagar, Shopian-Kulgam and Shopian-Bijbihara were cleared while the snow from around 70 percent of other roads had been cleared.
He said that the snow clearance operation in the district was going on at full swing.