Aajaz Ahmad Shah, 30, has got “the greatest Ramzan gift” from the Punjab government. Stranded in the state due to the lockdown, he is going back to Kashmir from where he had come on November 22 last year.
“Yeh sarkar ka sabse badha gift hai ki hum Ramzan ke mahine ghar pahunch rahe hain. Insha Allah agar sab theek raha to do din mein ghar pahunh jaunga. Agar halat achhe ho jayenge, to main jarur vaapis aaunga. Jahan mujhe itna pyar milta hai (This is the greatest gift the Punjab government has given us. I will reach home in Ramzan month. If everything goes well, I will reach home in two days. When things become normal again, I will come back to Punjab where I get so much love and affection),” he said, with tears in his eyes.
Aajaz, who hails from Dahama village in Kupwara district of Kashmir, is among 567 people from Jammu and Kashmir stranded in Hoshiarpur district. They were sent home by the Hoshiarpur administration on Tuesday after they completed their quarantine period. The district administration arranged 23 buses to drop them at their respective places in Jammu and Kashmir.
“My family is so happy that I will be with them in Ramzan. I am observing Roza daily. Four days of Ramzan are gone but still there are 26 days more to go, which is more than enough for me,” he said.
Aajaz was to go back to his village on March 21 but due to some reasons, his journey was delayed for two days and then the lockdown was announced. As a result, he remained stranded here for over a month. “During this period we first got atta to eat but when we told officials that we eat rice, they immediately provided us rice, daal and other things,” he said.
For the past 15 years, Aajaz has been coming to Punjab to sell Kashmiri woollen clothes during winters. Putting up in Mahalpur area of Hoshiarpur district, he said that all his fellow Kashmiris were well taken care of by the administration in the past one month. They were provided food and all required medical assistance.
Thirty-year-old Bilal of Tingri village from Kupwara looks forward to being with his family. Bilal and his wife Shakila, who had been accompanying him, were blessed with a baby girl, Surraiya, two months ago. They are happy that their family will meet their daughter for the first time.
Rashid, 40, Mohammad Shafiq, 45, have been coming to Punjab to sell their Kashmiri woollen clothes for the past over two decades. They say they cannot forget Punjab and will come back soon.
Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Apneet Rayit said that 23 buses were arranged to drop them home. A total of 197 people were stranded in Garshankar subdivision of the district, 143 in Hoshiarpur sub-division, 148 in Dasuya sub-division and 79 in Mukerian sub-division. She said that masks, sanitizers, ration, fruits and snacks were provided to them and it was made sure they observe social distancing norms while travelling.