The untold story of bus owner Harsh Desai.
The entire country was in a deep state of shock after the biggest attack on Amarnath Yatra Pilgrims in 17 years when a Jammu bound bus from Srinagar with 56 yatris was attacked.
While media channels are busy glorifying the benevolent deed of a “muslim driver whose sympathy and bravado saved hindus, here are some chilling facts that the mainstream media channels chose to happily snub:
1) None of the Muslim Locals or Shopkeepers came forward to help and prove their “Kashmiriyat” any of the 56 pilgrims despite the horrendous tragedy and the bleeding survivors that included tiny tots. It took a “Gujarati Muslim” to break the norm.
2) Leave alone help or intervention, they even scoffed with Kashmiriyat and laughed at the deplorable condition of the victims when approached for help.
3) No Media talks about the fact that Harsh saved Saleem’s life. Harsh’s presence of mind helped him in pulling Saleem Down from the driver’s seat when he sensed trouble and suspected that the armed men couldn’t be Indian Army Soldiers because of their typical body-language.
4) Harsh locked the doors to prevent the terrorists from coming inside. He knew that unless he did so, death would be inevitable for all. He sustained 3 bullet injuries.
5) He realized that everyone would die if the bus remained there and that they need to escape. IT was he who told the shocked & confused driver Saleem to drive the bus and stop only at military base.
Media Channels converted the biggest Religious Attack on Amarnath Pilgrims since 2002 into a Hyped-Up “Muslim Bravado” Story:
How did the attack unfold on 10th July 2017–
5:15 PM : 56 Pilgrims left from Srinagar after Darshan.
6:30 PM : They left Srinagar for Jammu. After about 30 kms of travel in a semi-hilly forest area full of zigzag terrain and curvy roads, the back-tyres got punctured. But they halted only after 5 kilometres where they could find a Mechanic. Everything was normal. Some Yatris got down while most of them were engrossed in chit-chat and sight seeing. After the Tyres were replaced in 25 minutes, Driver Saleem discovered that the none of the tyres had enough air. That consumed another 20 minutes.
7:15 PM : The bus departed for Jammu.
8:30 PM : A group of 5 to 7 gunmen in army dress blocked the road and started walking towards the bus. Suddenly there was a blitzkrieg of bullets sprayed via automatic guns( possibly kalashnikovs) . Harsh Desai, who was sitted next to driver, had sensed the trouble and pulled the driver Saleem Down to safety. In the process, Harsh got hit by bullet.
The terrorists surrounded the bus from all directions. Harsh rushed to lock the doors in order to prevent them from entering into the vehicle as that could very well mean death for everyone. But another bullet pierced through his shoulders and he fell down.
Harsh somehow managed to close the door with the help of bus cleaner Mukesh Patel who also got hit by bullet.
Harsh realized that it was not safe for them to stay there so he ordered the driver, Saleem, who as shocked & confused over the sudden attack, to drive the bus and stop only near military base.
“Java do, Java do” (keep moving, keep moving)
Saleem mustered courage and drove the bus to safety and stopped only after they covered a good distance of roughly 2.5 kilometers.
The spot where the bus stopped had several shops nearby. According to a female survivor they were emboldened after seeing the shops. But nobody had the guts to get down. Some of them pleaded with the shopkeepers, “Please help us, several women and children are injured, we are losing a lot of blood! Please call the police!”
But the shopkeepers ignored them, some of them were even laughing and passing comments on the yatris.
No media covered and reported the reality that the local shopkeepers laughed at them and refused to help the survivors! Any Human Rights Activists Around? (And Home Minister Rajnath Singh was praising the Kashmiris & their Kashmiriyat for standing upto the victims.)
Suddenly, Army jeeps arrived and assured them that Nothing will happen to them.
Most of the victims couldn’t hold back tears and were crying profusely. They were then airlifted to Surat after being treated in local hospitals.
The night of 10th July 2017 gifted all 49 survivors painful memories that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Some families couldn’t reach back their homes with their loved ones. But atleast the rest of them could because of the presence of mind & bravery shown by bus owner Harsh Desai who got hit by three bullets.
We salute the unsung hero.
Some Points Which Create Doubts About Driver Salim-
1] Army & CRPF vehicles do patrolling on Jammu-Srinagar HIghway after a regular interval. How did the terrorists know about the travel bus and hid at a point where there would be no forces for specific duration?
2] Usually, terrorists always target the driver of vehicle from front so that they won’t drive away. In the past too, terrorists have always targetted the driver of Army convoys first. It doesn’t fit into logic that terrorists fired from both sides and back but not from front.
3] Driver Saleem has been going to Amarnath Yatra from many years. He must be knowing all the rules and regulations in the terror prone Kashmir. Then why he chose to drive after 6.30pm? It takes 5 hours to reach Jammu from Srinagar. Who would plan to drive in the darkness in Kashmir?
4] If bus was punctured and it took longer time to fix the tyres, why he did not seek help from Army personnels who pass from highway?
5] Why Saleem did not inform the passengers that bus needs to be registered with Amarnath Shrine Board ? He has been to Amarnath many times, he must be knowing this rule.
6] Who is instructing the media to give full coverage to driver Saleem and ignore the rest. The media is talking less about the attack & more about the driver.
7] Did someone give clue to terrorists about the Bus?
These questions need to be answered before we declare Saleem a hero.
3] News footage accounts