The terror attack on the bus of Amarnath yatris in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday evening would have claimed more innocent lives had it not been for the exemplary courage shown by Salim Sheikh, the driver of the bus, who drove the pilgrims to safety amid indiscriminate firing of bullets by militants.
It was about 8.20 pm. A white-coloured bus (GJ09Z9979) with 56 Amarnath pilgrims on board was travelling from Srinagar to Jammu. The bus was not officially registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board for the pilgrimage and was without police escort.
As soon as the bus reached near Khanabal, 3-5 terrorists opened fire. It was pitch-dark outside and raining bullets. However, driver Salim Sheikh kept his cool. Realising that halting the bus will have dangerous consequences, Salim drove for nearly two kilometres on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway before he reached an army camp. The attack left seven dead and over 30 injured.
‘Allah gave me strength’
“The terrorist first fired from the front with the intention to eliminate the driver. I ducked sideways to escape the bullets and drove ahead. I do not know how I got the strength to go on at that time. Maybe Allah helped me and gave me strength,” Salim told media persons as he stepped out of an IAF plane that brought the deceased as well as those injured in the attack to Surat, Gujarat, Tuesday afternoon.
Salim, who also belongs to Gujarat, said he escaped unharmed in the incident while another passenger seated beside him was injured.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today praised bus driver Salim Sheikh for showing immense courage and saving lives of nearly 50 Amarnath pilgrims.
"Want to thank bus driver for saving lives of people. Will nominate his name for bravery award," Rupani told reporters at Surat airport where he received those injured in the terror attack.
“I spoke to the passengers and they were all praise for the driver. He drove despite the firing and took them to safety. It made a lot of difference and many lives were saved. He did not stop. Had he stopped, more lives could have been lost,” said Munir Khan, IG, Kashmir.
Family is proud
Salim’s family in Gujarat is also proud him. His cousin, Javed, said that Salim called him around 9.30 PM informing the family about the firing on the bus. “He couldn’t save seven lives but managed to move 50 people to a safe place. We are proud of him,” Javed added.
What else does bjp want other than boycotting peace. It never wants peace between Hindus and Muslims. and also Hindus following their agenda of hindu rashtra which will never happen. Looks like they want more violence to finally get Muslims out of their country. Remember Muslim ruled for 800 years and if they wanted to make India a Muslim rashtra, they could have done it easily. Gandus open your mind