Srinagar: Exemplifying the brotherhood and communal harmony which Kashmir is known for, people in Ompura area of Budgam district on Tuesday performed the last rites of an 85-year-old Kashmiri Pandit neighbour, Jagan Nath Kaul. Kaul had passed away on Monday evening.
As soon the news regarding Kaul’s demise reached people, they visited his house to extend condolences to the bereaved family. Kaul, known as a humble person, has always lived in Kashmir and never moved out from the Valley even during the 1990s.
“Kaul sahab’s family is among two Kashmiri Pandit families which did not migrate and continued to live with us. Irrespective of people’s faith, everyone in the area addressed Kaul sahab as Jag toath (Jag dear),” said Kaul’s neighbour Aijaz Ahmad Khan.
Khan said the entire area was in grief and the locals extended complete support in performing the last rites of late Kaul. However, Khan said performing the last rites was not possible on Monday evening, due to paucity of time. However, a large number of people took part in Kaul’s last rites on Tuesday, he added. “It is mostly Muslim population that helped in the last rites. That is because there are only two Pandit families living in this neighbourhood” Khan said.
Another local resident, Muhammad Yousuf said late Kaul was known for his cordial behaviour with the members of majority community. “He was quite social and would visit local Muslim residents. He would be equally a part of everyone’s grief and joy. His death is a big loss for all of us” Yousuf said.
It may be mentioned that Kaul, a resident of Ompura was an employee of NCC and a popular figure in the area. He spent a lot of time in the company of his Muslim friends. As only a few of his family members were around, Kaul’s local friends and neighbours from the Muslim community took it upon themselves to help perform his last rites. The local Muslims organised and performed his last rites and mourned his death as one of their own. They shouldered his coffin and arranged wood for the cremation in the area. Koul left behind his wife and two sons. His family thanked the locals for showing so much love and care to their family.