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Six dead as boat capsizes in Nowgam area; LG expresses grief

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SRINAGAR: A boat carrying mostly school children capsized in the Jhelum river on the outskirts of the city on Tuesday, leaving six people dead, officials said.
The incident took place around 8:00 AM in Gandbal Nowgam area. The exact number of people on the boat was not clear.
The bodies have been identified as Firdousa, wife of Fayaz Ahmed Malik, and her twin children- Tanvir Fayaz and Mudasir Fayaz, a father-son duo and the boatman.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and many other leaders expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident.
“I am deeply grieved by the loss of lives due to a boat accident in Srinagar. My thoughts are with the bereaved families & I pray to the Almighty to give them strength to withstand this immense loss. Team of SDRF, Army & other agencies are carrying out relief & rescue work,” Sinha said in a post on X. The LG said he is constantly monitoring the situation and guiding the team on the ground.
“The administration is providing all possible help to the bereaved families who have lost their near and dear ones and medical facilities to those who have been injured. Marcos teams have also been alerted. I am constantly monitoring the situation and guiding the team on the ground,” Sinha said.
Deputy commissioner, Srinagar, Bilal Mohi-ud-Din Bhat, said six people have died and their bodies have been retrieved by the SDRF.
“Six people have unfortunately died, while we have rescued six others — out of which three are under treatment but stable. The rest three are at home,” Bhat told reporters.
“The unfortunate incident occurred between 7:45 am and 8 am. We are ascertaining how many people were travelling in the boat, but the information we have so far is that 15 people were on it, including seven minors,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner said the rescue operations were on.
Asked if the administration had warned the people in view of an increase in the water levels of various rivers and streams in the valley, Bhat said the authorities had issued an alert on Monday asking people living near the embankments of the river to remain cautious.
“We issued an alert yesterday. I was touring the city till around midnight. The danger level of Jhelum in Ram Munshibagh (in Srinagar) is 18 feet. When the level crosses 10 feet, we issue an initial alert asking people living near the banks to remain cautious. (However), it was flowing below the danger level and the rain had also stopped around 10 pm last night,” he added.
In response to a question whether the boat was overloaded, the Deputy Commissioner said, “We are looking into it”.
Senior officials from police and civil administration, including Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar, were at the spot at Gandbal Batwara monitoring rescue operations.
The National Conference also expressed grief over the incident.
“JKNC President Dr. Farooq Abdullah and VP @OmarAbdullah express deep shock and sadness over the tragic demise of three minors whose boat capsized in Gandbal, Batwara. JKNC senior leader @RuhullahMehdi, along with CI @ahsanpardesi also join in expressing their profound grief,” the party said in a statement on X.
The party urged the administration to expedite rescue efforts and extend comprehensive support to the affected families.
In this moment of grief their thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families, it said.
Former Chief Minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti condoled the loss of lives in the incident.
“Reports coming in of several children dead. My deepest condolences to their families and I urge the administration to extend all help possible,” she said.
BJP J-K spokesperson Altaf Thakur expresed solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed for the speedy recovery of those under treatment at SMHS.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said he was deeply pained by the loss of lives.
“Sending heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. The prolonged construction of a footbridge, lingering for years, highlights a missed opportunity to prevent such tragedies,” he said.
Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari urged the administration to swiftly extend support to those in need.
“Devastated to hear of the tragic capsizing of a boat carrying several persons, including children, in the River Jhelum near Batwara, Srinagar.
“The loss of precious lives is heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible accident. Urging the administration to swiftly extend support to those in need,” Bukhari said.

Political parties suspend campaign following tragedy

SRINAGAR: Various political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday suspended campaigning for the parliamentary elections in the wake of the boat capsize tragedy that left six people dead.
National Conference (NC) candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi suspended his campaigning for two days.
“This is a tragic day today for all of us and the bereaved families of the children who lost their lives in #Batwara. I cancel all my campaigning programmes for today and tomorrow. Prayers for the angelic souls and the families of the deceased,” Mehdi, an influential Shia leader, posted on X.
The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC), led by Sajad Lone, also suspended all election-related activities of the party.
“Out of respect for the families affected by the boat capsize tragedy today, JKPC cadres and leaders are directed to suspend all election-related activities. Our hearts are with those enduring this loss. We stand together with the affected families in support and solidarity,” the party said.
Lone is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the Baramulla constituency in north Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, led by Altaf Bukhari, said there would be no political activity for the day in the Kashmir valley.
“In view of the tragedy caused by the boat capsize incident, the Apni Party is postponing all its activities and events that were scheduled for today. The loss of precious lives, including those of children, in this fatal incident is a monumental tragedy for all of us, and we are grieving. “Therefore, there will be no political activity anywhere in the valley today,” the party said on X.

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