A local guide died saving five tourists, including two foreigners, when a boat capsized during rafting in tourist hotspot Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday evening.
“One raft capsized at the rafting point of Pahalgam’s Mawoora. It was caught in sudden gusty winds,” said Amir Ali, Director of the Disaster Management cell in Kashmir.
“All the passengers onboard fell in the fast flowing water of Lidder. The tourist guide, Rouf Ahmed Dar, without caring for his own safety rescued all the tourists but lost his life,” he added.
A search and rescue team, drawn from the State Disaster Response Force, the police and locals, launched an operation on Friday but abandoned it due to darkness.
“The body of the brave guide was retrieved on Saturday morning near the Bhawani bridge from the Lidder river,” said Mr. Ali.
The body was handed over to his relatives after completion of medico-legal formalities.
Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, the Adviser to the Governor, announced that the tourist guide would be awarded posthumously.
The family of Dar, a resident of Yeened village of Pahalgam, will also receive ₹2 lakh from the administration. His act of bravery attracted praise from all political parties in the Valley.
“My salute to this braveheart Rouf Ahmed Dar. He saved the tourists from his capsized raft but lost his own life in the process. May Allah grant him the highest place in heaven,” said former Chief Minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G.A. Mir described Dar as a “real symbol of Kashmiriyat”.
“I urged upon the State government to provide full compensation to the bereaved family to ensure their livelihood,” he said.
Sheikh Ashiq, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also praised Dar’s valour.
“Adventure tourism has its perils and it is always important to follow proper safety procedures and guidelines while carrying out activities which could endanger human lives,” he said.