SRINAGAR: The chances of survival of five soldiers feared buried under snow in Jammu and Kashmir are fading fast as army teams have not been able to locate them even after a lapse of 36 hours.
“Army teams are continuing rescue operations to find the five armymen trapped under snow at Naugam and Gurez sectors along the LoC in north Kashmir,” defence spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, said.
Three armymen manning a forward post in Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in Bandipora district were trapped under snow on Tuesday following an avalanche. Two more soldiers slipped down a mountain slope along the LoC in Naugam sector in Kupwara .
The rescue operation has been hampered by heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of the state. The army’s Avalanche Rescue Teams are engaged in the rescue operation. But the task is being hampered by bad weather and poor visibility, an officer said.
With each passing hour, the chances of survival of the trapped soldiers are receding. “We are praying for their safety and hope they are rescued alive,” the army officer said.
Asked if experts had been rushed to help in the rescue work, he said, “It is not possible due to the prevailing weather conditions to lift anybody to the area where the soldiers are trapped. The army teams have enough expertise to rescue the soldiers.” In January, 20 soldiers were killed in avalanches in Gurez, Machil and Uri sectors.
Mehbooba’s brother to get Cabinet berth
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is all set to induct her cinematographer brother Tassaduq Mufti, 45, in her Cabinet as tourism minister. He is currently coordinator of CM’s Grievance Cell. Sources said Tassaduq, who joined the PDP last year, will be nominated to the Legislative Council against a seat which fell vacant after Vikramaditya Singh, grandson of J&K’s former Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, resigned from the Council and the PDP. Tassaduq won the Zee Cine and Star Screen awards for Best Cinematographer in 2006 for Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara.