Soldier braves snow to bury his mother

Soldier braves snow to bury his mother
A soldier had to battle mounds of snow and biting cold for five days to bury his mother in his ancestral village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. For four nights, 30-year-old Muhammad Abbas Khan, posted in Pathankot, Punjab, kept his mother Sakeena Begum’s body in an army barrack in Drayunyari, Chowkibal, hoping that either the road would be cleared or the authorities would make arrangements to airlift the body to Tanghdar  near the Line of Control.

However, on Thursday morning, Khan and his relatives gave up hope of receiving help from the government. Khan then decided to carry the body on a stretcher and cross snowbound Sadhna Pass, located 10,700 feet above sea level, by foot. The soldier and his relatives had to battle mounds of snow and biting cold to bury the deceased in her ancestral village of Chitarkot in Tanghdar. Reports said that Khan had taken his mother to Pathankot, where he was posted, to escape the biting cold in Kashmir.

But his mother, who had been ill, died of a heart attack on January 28. Since flights were cancelled due to snowfall, Abbas used the Srinagar-Jammu Highway to reach Srinagar, where he pleaded before the authorities to airlift the body to Tanghdar. “The help never came. We approached the army and the civil administration but they gave us nothing but promises,” Nawaz, Khan’s relative, said. By then, a few relatives, including Nawaz, had reached Drayunyari, with a group of labourers.

“They were stuck with us in sub-zero temperatures. Fortunately, we were given shelter and food by villagers. All these days we waited for the chopper. We kept calling the officers. They said it was coming but it never came,” Nawaz said. "We have gone through hell all these days. The trek was dangerous and god knows how many times we thought we would not be able to make it,” he said, adding that Sakeena was buried on Thursday night. However, the authorities denied the allegations saying they had arranged a helicopter for them “but there was no helipad around.”
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