Rescue workers face frayed tempers

Rescue workers face frayed tempers

Rescue workers are bearing the brunt of simmering anger among some victims of flood fury in Jammu and Kashmir with a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel suffering serious injuries on his hand following an attack on him.

There were also reports of some choppers on rescue mission not being able to land in some locations after locals threatened to pelt stones. However, officials in New Delhi refused to confirm the incidents.

An NDRF personnel was seriously injured when angry locals attacked him during rescue operations on Tuesday. He has been rushed to Chandigarh for treatment.

Officials said some local people wanted the NDRF men to concentrate on a particular area and when the force personnel decided to go to a different area, they were attacked. However, they refused to identify the location where the incident took place.

An “aggressive crowd” had tried to attack a rescue boat, injuring the officer, who was flown to Chandigarh for treatment, NDRF chief O P Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV.NDRF top brass reported the incident to the Union Home Ministry.

The Cabinet Secretary was asked to devise some mechanism so that troops are safe while they discharge  their duty. “It has been decided that the CRPF will guard rescue teams but we are still to find a way to implement this mechanism as there is limited space on boats. Ferrying securitymen on boats means reducing space for people to be rescued,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

The NDRF chief has been rushed to Srinagar to personally monitor and supervise rescue operations in the state.
Officials said they did not want to "highlight" the anger among victims and sought to downplay it saying these were common occurrences during a natural calamity. “Everybody wants to be evacuated first. Sometimes this leads to frayed tempers. This is natural," the officials said.

“I understand their anger and I don’t grudge them on that anger. They have gone through an extremely difficult time,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, as hundreds of locals gave vent to their anger complaining they were not getting any relief material like food, medicines or blankets.

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