In the face of terror, only a few dare to think beyond their own safety. And driver, Salim Sheikh was determined to save around 50 passengers aboard his bus when terror attacks struck 61 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
The open-fire attack near Batengoo in J&K’s Anantnag district claimed seven lives and injured 14 victims. But thanks to Salim, more than 50 lives were saved.
Around 8:30 pm on Monday, Salim heard a barrage of bullets hit the side of the bus and decided to drive on, to not let any more bullets in. He drove until he spotted an army camp.
In an interview with ANI, he said, “God gave me strength to keep moving, and I just did not stop.”
Salim informed his cousin Javed about the attack in a phone call around 9:30 pm on Monday.
“He told me that he did not stop there when terrorists fired, only looked for a safer spot for pilgrims. He couldn’t save seven lives, but managed to move 50 people to a safe place, I’m proud of him,” said Javed, a resident of Valsad in Gujarat.
Praising Salim’s bravery, an injured woman at the Anantnag district hospital told NDTV, “My driver was so brave…he drove on.”
“There was firing from all three sides. Our driver managed to take the bus a few km ahead. He saved us,” said another injured pilgrim.
According to an NDTV report, the attackers were claimed to be a part of Lashkar-e-Toiba by the police in Kashmir. The attackers fired at an armoured police car and a security check-post before surrounding the pilgrims’ bus on three sides and firing. Reportedly, the bus was not meant to be on the highway after 5 pm, given security restrictions. But a flat tyre led to a delay of more than two hours.
“Want to thank bus driver, Salim for saving lives of people when there was firing going. Will nominate his name for bravery award,” said Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani.
Salim Sheikh proved that humanity transcends everything else and we salute his bravery!
Feature Photo Source: ANI