Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday praised driver Saleem Sheikh for showing exemplary courage when the bus he was driving came under terror attack. Saleem drove the bus on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway with 56 Amarnath yatris on board to safety amid indiscriminate firing of bullets from three sides by the militants. He halted only when he reached an Army camp two kilometres away.
Rupani said he would nominate Saleem’s name for bravery awards while also thanked him for limiting the fatalities. The attack left seven people dead and several injured. “Want to thank bus driver for saving lives of people even when there was firing going on. Will nominate his name for bravery award,” the chief minister was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, Saleem told ANI: “Lagatar firing huyi, main isliye ruka nahi, bus chalata raha. (I did not stop because there was continuous firing. I kept driving the bus).” “God gave me strength to keep moving, and I just did not stop.” Saleem’s cousin, Javeed added that Saleem called him up around 9.30 PM informing him about the attack. “He couldn’t save seven lives but managed to move 50 people to a safe place. We are proud of him,” the cousin added. Read: Amarnath Yatra terror attack: Bus driver Saleem drove through firing, saved many yatris. Click here
The terror attack suspected to carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba left seven people dead and over 30 injured. The mortal remains of the yatris along with the injured pilgrims and their families were airlifted by an IAF plane and brought to Surat. Earlier in the day, Rupani told PTI that he would be travelling to Surat to receive the dead bodies. The chief minister also met the injured after they reached Surat.
The Gujarat government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the families of those who were killed and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured yatris. According to PTI, the government will also bear the costs of the medical treatment of the injured.