TWELVE people were killed while one went missing in Jammu and Kashmir following the season’s heaviest snowfall on Thursday. Bodies of seven policemen were on Friday extricated from a police post hit by an avalanche near Jawahar Tunnel in Kulgam district on Thursday evening.
While two cops were rescued, another was missing in the Kulgam incident, a police official said. The dead include five policemen and two prisoners who had taken shelter inside the ill-fated police post when the avalanche struck.
Two special police officers (SPOs) identified as Gulzar Ahmad Mir and Gulam Nabi were rescued in an injured state and shifted to hospital for treatment, where their condition is stated to be stable. One person is still missing in the Jawahar Tunnel avalanche tragedy as rescue teams continue their efforts to locate the missing person in the heavily snowbound area.
In the second incident, a couple died after their house was buried in a snowslide in Anantnag district on Thursday evening but rescue teams managed to pull out their two children alive. The victims were identified as Bashir Ahmad Qureshi and his wife. The incident occurred at Sonabrari-Magam in Kokernag area of the district, the official said. On the police post incident, the official said an avalanche hit the north portal of Jawahar Tunnel on the Qazigund side in Kulgam district on Thursday evening.
While 10 cops were able to rush to safety, 10 others were trapped. Rescue teams faced a lot of difficulty in reaching the avalanche site on Friday morning due to strong winds and accumulation of snow, officials said. Police on Friday recovered the body of Bashir Ahmad Awan in Kokernag area of Anantnag district. His family said he had gone to collect firewood from the forest on Thursday, but did not return home.
Bodies of two persons killed in the Ramsoo-Ramban sector of the Jammu-Srinagar highway were also recovered. They have been identified as Sanjit Lakra of West Bengal and Pramod Mankotia of Himachal Pradesh, police sources said.
Authorities have shifted 78 families from avalanche-prone areas of Waltangoo Nar and Kund in Kulgam district to safer places.
Heavy snowfall across Kashmir over the past two days has triggered avalanches and snowslides in many places in the hilly areas of the Valley. The authorities have issued an avalanche warning for 16 of the 22 districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
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