SRI NAGAR: When the state machinery collapsed and failed the people of Jammu Kashmir during the recent floods that ravaged the state, the separatist leaders had rallied their activists and formed a “parallel government” by setting up relief camps to provide food and shelter for the flood-affected.
After the floods ravaged the Valley on September 7, the J&K government remained “non-existent” for over a week with the ministers and officials going into “hiding”, leaving the people to fend for themselves.
The youth from the sensitive and stone-pelting-prone downtown Srinagar and other parts of the Valley, which remained unaffected by the floods, rescued people from flood-ravaged areas like Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Rambagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Bemina, HMT and others.
The rescued people had to be provided shelter and food and with government and “peoples representatives” nowhere to be found, the separatist leaders stepped in to help.
Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had called up on his activists and set up a relief camp for the flood-victims at Islamia High School, Rajouri Kadal in downtown Srinagar. He also travelled to the flood-hit areas in a boat and distributed food items and other essential goods. And images of Farooq distributing relief materials to the flood-affected people had gone viral on Facebook.
“Since downtown areas remained unaffected, we were able to coordinate rescue and relief operations in a better way. We did everything on our own with the help of our youth. We had around 200 youngsters working 24/7 and they helped in rescue, relief and coordination,” Mirwaiz said.
Taking a dig at the government, he said, “There was no government help. The entire government had collapsed”. Mirwaiz said that if the youth hadn’t helped the death rate would have been higher.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat also stepped in and opened relief camps for the flood-affected. The party set up a central relief camp at Geelani’s residence at Hyderpora and also at Jamia Masjid, Hyderpora and at Marriage Hall, Sanat Nagar in Srinagar, where the volunteers provided food and other eatable items.
“We served lunch and dinner to over 5,000 people at Jamia Masjid, Hyderpora and Marriage Hall, Sanat Nagar.
“The relief camp at Sanat Nagar is still functional,” said a leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.