Government indifferent to Udhampur attack victims: Kashmir lawmaker

Srinagar, Oct 14: An Independent legislator in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday accused the state government of adopting a cavalier attitude towards the Udhampur truck attack victims and said he would collect money on his own for their treatment.

Lawmaker Sheikh Abdul Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid, termed the October 9 petrol bomb attack on a valley-bound truck at Udhampur in Jammu province “shameful” and accused the Jammu and Kashmir government of “indifference” towards the attack victims.

Two people in the truck suffered burn injuries in the attack, while the truck driver managed to escape from the assailants.

“The kingpin of the attack is still at large. In Kashmir, the government takes no time to arrest people even on frivolous charges. Why aren’t authorities showing the same enthusiasm in Jammu,” the legislator asked at a press conference along with the victims’ families and termed the assailants “terrorists”.

Rashid claimed another truck driver, Siyar Ahmad of Mirbazaar Qazigund, a town on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, was also attacked by miscreants at Udhampur, which he said the government was denying.

The state government has said six people involved in the October 9 attack have been arrested and a manhunt launched to nab other accused.

“The government is thumping its chest that it will bear all expenses on the victims’ treatment at a Delhi hospital. How shameful that only an air ticket and Rs.10,000 have been given to each of the victim’s families. What will the families do with this meagre amount,” he asked.

The families of the two burn victims narrated their ordeal on the occasion. “We are being harassed by the authorities; they want us to remain silent and hush up the case. We don’t need any money from the government but only justice,” a parent of one of the victims said.

The affected families claimed they returned the government relief the day Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed visited his home constituency of Anantnag in south Kashmir.

“We handed over some cash and cheques in an envelope to the chief minister and he took it without seeing what was in the envelope,” they claimed.

Rashid handed over Rs.2 lakh, which he said were collected from his friends, to the victims families.

“I will accompany these families to Delhi tomorrow (Thursday) and make sure the victims receive the best of treatment,” the Independent legislator said.

“We don’t need any favours from the government. The Kashmiris are capable of helping their brethren in times of need. If needed, we will collect more money from the people for their treatment,” Rashid said.