Meet 3 unsung philanthropists who sold their belongings to help stranded people outside Valley

Srinagar: Three Kashmiri unsung heroes over the years have been helping thousands of Kashmiris living outside the Valley.

In times of distress like in 2014 floods, 2019 lockdown, and now in Covid pandemic, the trio has come to rescue for many people stranded outside Kashmir.

Dr Owais Qasim Mir, a Qazigund resident who is working as a Dental surgeon, Dr Mohammad Rafiq, a Soura Srinagar resident who is a junior scientist in Chennai and Shakir Hussain Bhat, a young businessman settled in Rohtak Haryana have facilitated many Kashmiris looking for help in different parts of India.

“During 2014 floods when Kashmir living outside the valley were very much distressed, so we used social media to connect with people who need help. And in no time, we started receiving calls from students who had to pay their semester fee, labourers who were stranded on the way home, and patients for treatment,” Dr Mir said.

Mir said that in the initial days of their philanthropic work, they spent their all saving even remaining without food for days to help others.

“Later we came up with the idea of Kashmir helpline 24/7,” he said. “The news of starting this platform spread like fire and many people start offering to pay students fee, rent etc.”

Shakir Hussain Bhat said that once they received a call from Nagpur where some Kashmiri students were forced to vacate the rented room and they had found shelter in a mosque.

“Somehow I managed to book their tickets and we transferred some cash to them. After, that incident we started receiving around 200 such calls every day,” he said, adding that people also then join hands to help them.

To streamline the things, Dr Rafiq collected the information of all the people and registered them as volunteers who were ready to extend help.

“I can recall when we received a call from a group of girls who required money to get their friend admitted to a hospital in UP. The patient required Rs 2 lakh for treatment so Dr Owais sold his new bike, while Dr Shakir donated my his salary,” Bhat said.

During the communication blockade following the abrogation of Article-370, the trio helped thousands of people to get in touch with their loved ones via landline phones besides providing them financial help.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have donated masks, PPE kits, and medicines at various hospitals, in villages, and in quarantine centers throughout Jammu and Kashmir,” Bhat said.

“During these days the workload for such activities is not that much as we are just moderating the connections between the donors and the volunteers,” he said, adding that we are also ready for any such kind of disaster in the future. (KNO)

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