Mysterious fire engulfs entire village in Kishtwar

100 injured; 160 houses, 2 Masjids, 271 other structures gutted

By Sheikh Nasir Hussain, NAK

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Kishtwar : More than 100 persons were injured, 20 0f them seriously, when an entire village comprising 160 residential houses, 60 cow sheds, 50 grass sheds and 2 Masjids were reduced to ashes in mysterious fire, which broke out in Margi village of newly created Marwah tehsil, about 110 kilometers from here, late last night.

Sources told News Agency of Kashmir that situation was grave in the area and district administration has rushed essential supplies including medicine and food to the village to meet emergency situation.

Fire broke out in the village, about three days journey on foot from here, late last night under mysterious circumstances and it soon engulfed the entire village, sources said adding the initial reports available with the district administration reveal that the entire village has suffered total damage in the devastating fire.

Essential commodities were flown to the village by two Choppers of Indian Air Force at around 5 PM today. Senior officers of police and district administration including MLA Kishtwar Sajad Ahmed Kichloo, Deputy Commissioner Shahid Anayatulla, Assistant Commissioner Rajesh Kumar and Superintendent of Police Mumtaz Ahmed were deputed by the government to the area to take stock of the situation.

Army personnel of 9 Rashtriya Rifles, stationed at Khundroo village, reportedly reached the village early this morning and provided immediate help to the villagers. “It was the army which informed its unit about the devastating fire in Kishtwar”, a senior officer in the district administration said.

As per the reports about 100 persons have suffered injuries out of which 20 were said to be in critical condition. Sources said that the critically injured villagers are likely to be shifted either to Kishtwar or Anantnag hospitals for treatment.

At least 271 structures, including 160 residential houses, 2 mosques and a government schools were said to be completely damaged in the fire.

However, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sudhanshu Panday said that the information about the damage was first hand and there was no official details available till date. “The area is far away with no road connectivity as such the exact details of the damage could be ascertained only when the official team, deputed to the area, returns on Wednesday”, he said.

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Riyaz Ahmed Zargar told News Agency of Kashmir that the initial reports reaching here from the area revealed that the village has suffered a huge loss. He claimed that the essential commodities have been dispatched to the area and officials were ascertaining the cause of fire.

As per Block Devlopment Officer of the area only 160 families are registered in the revenue record in the village which suggests that the entire village is reduced to ashes.

Member Legislative Assembly (MLA) Kishtwar Sajad Ahmed Kichloo said, before leaving for the village, that he has informed the chief minister about the incident and has urged the government to providing financial assistance to the affected villagers.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has also ordered massive relief effort to be taken up and asked senior officers to rush to the village.

On the Chief Minister’s instructions, the State administration requisitioned two MI-17 helicopters from Air Force at Jammu in which, besides senior officers, 100 tents, 240 blankets, emergency medicines, 25 sleeping bags and teams of doctors and par-medical staff were flown to the fire ravaged village, an official spokesman said.

The Chief Minister has also asked his ministerial colleagues Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed and Prem Sagar Aziz to fly to the village and ensure adequate relief to the fire sufferers.

They will leave for Wadwan early morning tomorrow. The ministers will be accompanied by a team of officers including Director General of Police, Divisional Commissioner and Director Health Services besides a team of doctors and para-medical staff. The State Police is also dispatching 400 tents for the fire victims, the spokesman added.

Some prominent citizens including former MLA Jalal-ud-Din Qazi, President Municipal Committee Kishtwar Shakeel Ahmed Kamal, Youth Congress leader Sandeep Sain and Youth PDP leader Ishtiyaq Ahmed Waza have demanded immediate financial help to the affected families. They urged the chief minister to personally intervene in the matter so that the precious lives can be saved.