Assam police move to help stranded folk

Guwahati, Sept. 8: They have lived with floods in Assam, but now find themselves hopelessly marooned in faraway Srinagar.A group of veterinarians, alumni of the College of Veterinary Sciences here but now faculty of the Sher-E-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology at the Jammu and Kashmir capital, and their families have gone off the radar with the telephone network there having collapsed .

Assam police move to help stranded folk

“We are seeking help of the police here for their rescue,” Utpal Barman, vice-president of College of Veterinary Science Students’ Union, said.

Ironically, all of them hail from Barpeta, Kamrup and Dhubri districts in lower Assam which are extremely flood-prone.

Abdul Hafiz, a veterinary professor, who had come here on Friday, had to rush back to New Delhi today after losing all contact with his family soon after he arrived.

Hafiz told The Telegraph today that there was knee-deep water near Srinagar airport when he boarded his flight there at 7.15am on Friday. To his utter surprise, the water level rose so fast that by the time he reached here around 3pm, the ground floor of the building at Jawahar Nagar, where his wife, Murshida Begum, two children—Mohafiz, 5, and Aqsha, 1, — and a maid, Kulsum, 24, stay, was said to have gone under water.

“Murshida told me that they had climbed up to the roof with the landlord’s four-member family. The water had already entered our first floor and a helicopter was hovering over the area. They were shouting at the helicopter to rescue them. The mobile phone suddenly got disconnected before we could speak any further,” Hafiz, an assistant professor, said today.

Hafiz was here to appear for an interview for his PhD from the College of Veterinary Sciences. “Since then I have tried my wife’s number many times. Nor could I get through to the 10 other professors from Assam who also live in the same area with their families. I don’t know where they are and in what condition,” he said. Hafiz has been working in the university’s veterinary medicine department in Srinagar since July 2007.

A harried Hafiz called up the helpline number opened by Assam police at their special branch headquarters here at Kahilipara and visited the state secretariat at Dispur before leaving for New Delhi today to enquire about his family. “Please help us in whatever way you can,” he pleaded just before boarding the Air India Guwahati-Delhi flight at 6pm.

Assistant professor of the College of Veterinary Science, Kamal Hashan Bulbul said so far they have received information that eight other alumni of the college and their families (23 members) are stuck in the devastating flood in Jammu and Kashmir that has wreaked havoc in the state.

Some of those who are stranded in the floods are Haider Ali Ahmed, 41, Zahida Ahmed, 34, Habiba Ahmed, 7, Zuvaeir Ahmed, 3, Humaira Ahmed, 3, Rafiqul Islam, 43, Parveen Sultana, 36, Rahil, 8, Rihan, 4, Murshida Begum, 33, Ayan, 6, Islam Uddin Shiekh, 41, Nasreen Sheikh, 28, Shehriz, 2, Al-Mutasin Anna, 39, Shifa, 8, Sayed Akram Hussain, 46, Sumaya, 8, Semima Sultana, 37, Anikha, 1, Arzuma Khatun, 35, Abrar Choudhury, 6, and Adnan Choudhury, 3.

Sources in the Assam police control room here said since telephone network and power supply are down there they were using every possible route to send the names of those from the state stranded in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure their rescue.

The special branch had yesterday opened two helplines — 0361-2381511 and 0361-2380620 — at their headquarters here in Kahilipara to assist people whose relatives are stranded in the valley.

Sources in the control room said they received nearly 50 calls so far seeking information about people from Assam, either working in the defence forces, government jobs or tourists. “It is difficult to say the exact number of people from our state stranded there,” said a source.