World is a much better place then most of us believe :) — Part 2
For Part 1- Read here
It was a hugely populated area and we can see people crying in homes for the loss of their loved ones. There were young people shouting slogans against government as they felt that government was not doing much to help them. We enquired to few guys that how should we reach to relief camp. Suddenly a aged uncle (Around 75 yr) came to us, he understood that we were tourist and have no idea.
He offered for help and accompanied us 5 km to show the route and left us on the main road from where Relief camp was around another 3–4 km on a straight road. On the way we saw a colony which was completely washed away by flood and he told that there are 500 dead body lying in that water right now. Epidemic that will follow after flood which have more adverse affects and it will many years for Kashmir to back to current state.
On the way, People offered us Fruits and water and we could not find any government officials for help. It was the main road on which there is CM house, Srinagar’s largest hospital and it was surprising that there was no Jammu Kashmir Police or other officials for providing support to local people.
We were very tired and we had eaten nothing except few fruits since the morning. We had planned to go to Army Camp as one of the couple had connect over there and we expected help from them to get us evacuated from there. We reached Army camp but no one allowed us to enter it and we could not connect to the our contact as their was no phone network. After one hour we were finally successful in contacting our connection and Army let us in.
Army guys told us that we might need to stand for 3–4 hours is the queue for evacuation from Army Helicopter. They asked to board on Army Truck and they will take us to the place where people are in queue.
Army warned that people might throw stones if we will try to get us inside gates as people have been waiting for days and they will react aggressively if they see special treatment given to few. Last day only one Army truck was put on fire by people. Once we reached there Army told that they can not take us inside the gates and we have to talk to Jammu Kashmir Police for any help. We tried but could not succeed and only option was to stand in queue. But it was not sure whether we will be evacuated today and if not, there is no where to sleep. We realised it is best to return to army camp and try next day but Army people refused as there is no space for Army itself how they can accommodate general people. After lot of persuasion they agreed to take us back but told that we have to look for shelter at other places.
Once we reach there, Army asked us to find a space in nearby camp which was operated by local people. We asked them to talk on behalf of us and they refused that local people won’t trust them at all due to ongoing conflicts but will help tourist.
My wife and another friend’s wife went to the camp and asked them to provide a room. It was very crowded but one of the family agreed us to accommodate us. There was a room where already 7–8 ladies were living and actually there was no space. They told that ladies and kids can sleep inside at night and gents can sleep outside.
While my wife was there in relief camp, I was in army camp and suddenly I saw young people shouting and throwing stones at Army. I was scared to hell. And suddenly environment became tense and there was a Lathi Charge. I could not understand the sudden outburst.
After around 30 minutes when things were bit camp, I gathered some courage and started moving to Relief Camp. On the entrance someone stopped me and asked where I am going and I told them that my wife is inside. He asked me — Are you Hindu ? I could not utter a word. He told that I should go quickly inside as environment is not appropriate. Few young people are getting aggressive due to the death of 4 relatives in family and they were blaming government for not providing any help. Things can worsen and someone might protest that why Hindus are given space in a Local relief camp.
I moved quickly and fear was quite visible on my face. As soon as I reached to the room, few ladies asked me to calm down and told that there is an ongoing tussle between army and locals but we need not worry and no one is going to harm us.
Food was already scarce and locals offered us plain rice from their own plate. Whole night we were thinking what we should do next day, whether tomorrow we will be out from here or not.
We decided that two of us will go to gates to check the status (4km away)and we found that there is little queue and we ran back to camp quickly. We took the luggage and moved to the gates. On the way, other couples decided to take a break for a day in a hotel. They somehow persuaded the guard to let them stay in Hotel’s Open area. We did not agree and thought it was best to try our luck at the gates.
We were bit lucky and got the chance to get inside the gate in a hour. There was a lot suspense here as well. Guards at the gate were taking few people inside and were giving special treatment to ladies/kids. We knew this can happen and were ready for it. We had packed my luggage and their luggage separately. As anticipated they took my wife in and I was left out. It happened in one quick go. Somehow I also entered into the gate 15–20 minutes late. Good Luck for us!
Finally we were evacuated by Army Helicopter in next 2 hour.
Army was working day in and out to save people.
If I tell this story many will say it would have been a terrifying experience but I will say that it was a life changing experience. On each step we found people who helped us despite they were in bad state.
So whatever we hear in media or stories of terrorist activities in a area, there is another perspective of it and that you can only know if you meet and talk to local people.
People are good everywhere in the world, just that at times we don’t know their story.
This experience made me a better person for sure :)