IIOJK in focus

Muslims help in cremation of Pandit neighbour in Budgam

Srinagar, September 29 (KMS): Exemplifying the brotherhood and communal harmony which Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir is known for, people in Ompura area of Badgam district, performed the last rites of an 85-year-old Kashmiri Pandit neighbour, Jagan Nath Kaul.

As soon as the news regarding Kaul’s demise on Monday evening spread, people visited his house to extend condolences to the bereaved family. Kaul, known as a humble person, kept on living in the Kashmir Valley even after the mass exodus of Pandits from the region in 1989 following the conspiracy hatched by the then Governor of IIOJK, Jagmohan Malhotra, to suppress the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle.

“Kaul sahab’s family is among two Kashmiri Pandit families which did not migrate and continued to live with us. Irrespective of people’s faith, everyone in the area addressed Kaul sahab as Jag toath (Jag dear),” said Kaul’s neighbour Aijaz Ahmad Khan.

He said the entire area was in grief and the locals extended complete support in performing the last rites of late Kaul. “It is mostly Muslim population that helped in the last rites. That is because there are only two Pandit families living in this neighbourhood” he said.

Another local resident, Muhammad Yousuf said, “Late Kaul was quite social and would visit local Muslim residents. He would be equally a part of everyone’s grief and joy. His death is a big loss for all of us.”

It may be mentioned that Kaul, a resident of Ompura, was a popular figure in the area. He spent a lot of time in the company of his Muslim friends. As only a few of his family members were around, Kaul’s local friends and neighbours from the Muslim community took it upon themselves to help perform his last rites. The local Muslims organised and performed his last rites and mourned his death as one of their own. They shouldered his coffin and arranged wood for the cremation in the area.

Koul left behind his wife and two sons. His family thanked the locals for showing so much love and care to their family.

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