A swimmer from central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district has saved dozens of people from drowning in River Sindh with his fearless and daredevil acts.
Bashir Ahmad Mir, a resident of Kangan, has earned fame for his swimming skills and over the past 20 years, he has been saving precious lives. He has been labelled ‘Saviour of the Sindh’ for his rescue efforts.
“When there is an accident or any mishap along Ganderbal-Sonamarg highway, people usually call me for rescue operations. It has become my passion to save human lives,” he told Rising Kashmir.
He rushes into the gushing waters without any proper swimming gear and is a very popular face among the local populace in Ganderbal district.
He says he learnt swimming by practice. “I used to take baths in the river and gradually gained experience.”
Bashir says he is always ready for rescue operations. “Whether it is winter or summer, I try my level best to reach the spot,” he said.
“When there is SDRF and Police rescue operations in the area, even they call me to assist them if they fail to reach the exact spot,” he said.
So far this year, 5 accidents have taken place along the Sonamarg-Ganderbal highway. He said two people were rescued while two could not be saved.
Recalling his first successful operation in year 2000, Bashir said he was in Drass Ladakh and someone informed him about a young man who had an accident and was struck in the middle of the river.
“I reached home after several hours of a journey; many attempts were made to rescue the young boy by Police and SDRF. I swam to the spot and rescued him and was appreciated by the people of my town,” he said.
“In the recent rainfall in July, I rescued three young boys who were trapped in river. In the three-hour operation, I put my life at risk, and finally the trapped boys were rescued from the gusty waters,” he said.
“It was a very hectic operation and there was a cloudburst up in mountains due to which water level had increased in the river.”
The video of the incident went viral on social media and he was praised by the netizens for his daredevil act.
However, Bashir says successive governments have not recognized his efforts.
“Over the past 20 years, I was never awarded nor my work was appreciated by current or past regimes,” he says.