SRINAGAR: After no assistance was provided to him for four days to airlift his mother’s body,
a soldier trekked 50 kms in the snow for 10 hours with his mother’s body on his shoulder in the snow-covered upper reaches of the border district of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir to give her a proper burial and bury her at his native place.
Sakina Begum, mother of 25-year-old Mohammad Abbas, an armyman posted in Pathankote
in Punjab, died of cardiac arrest on January 28 at her son’s official accommodation.
The soldier, who belonged to Sadnah Top, Karnah in border district of Kupwara, brought his mother’s body to Kashmir within 12 hours.
She had wished that her body be buried at her ancestral graveyard at her native place.
“On January 29, Abbas along with his mother’s body reached Chowkibal, Kupwara. They were provided accommodation in an army camp,” Abbas's relatives said.
They said Abbas approached the district administration and other officials to airlift his mother’s body to their native place.
For four days and four nights, they said, Abbas stayed with his mother’s body in the army camp in Chowkibal and waited for government help.
“With no help coming from the administration, Abbas after consultation with the locals and some of his relatives, who had by the time reached the army camp to be with him, decided to carry the body of
his mother on his shoulder and trek the distance from Chowkibal to Sadhna Top, Karnah, which is cut off from the rest of the Valley due to massive accumulation of snow,” they said.
On Thursday morning, they left Chowkibal for Abbas’s native place. “Some people were clearing the track of snow while others helped Abbas in carrying the body."
During the trekking, they said, they had to walk 50 kilometres through snow and at places through waist-deep snow to reach Sadhna Top.
“It was a risky, arduous and painful journey because we had to cross through snow-bound mountains and also pass through avalanche-prone zones. The jawan safeguards the boundaries of our country
and when he needed assistance from the administration he was left to the mercy of God,” they said.
According to them, after travelling continuously for 12 hours, they reached their native place on Thursday evening and performed the last rites. She was buried in a local graveyard and a large number of people attended her funeral prayers.
“It is unfortunate that we did not receive any help from the government. The administration had assured us that they would provide us a tractor but that too was not provided,” they said.
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara G M Dar told Express that they had made a chopper available for the soldier on Thursday.
“However, before the chopper arrived, he had left the place along with the body,” he said.
Dar said that they had assured all possible assistance to the soldier but without waiting for their help he left on foot.
“The chopper that had to ferry his mother’s body to his native place, then airlifted ailing patients from the area.
The patients were evacuated to Srinagar hospital,” the DC said.
He denied that the solider stayed in Chowkibal, Kupwara, for four days and four nights.
“It took him three days to reach the Chowkibal area. On the 4th day (on Thursday), he left for his native place,” DC said.
Meanwhile, defence spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Express that all possible assistance was made available.
He said the jawan was provided accommodation in an army unit in Chowkibal.
“His mother’s body could not be airlifted from Chowkibal due to bad weather conditions. For a helicopter to fly, the weather has to be good,” Kalia said.