Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday announced a reward of Rs. three lakh to bus driver Salim Mirza who drove the bus amid indiscriminate firing by militants on Monday and saved many lives.
Militants fired at a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims which left 7 dead and more than 30 injured. The bus driver Salim showed exemplary courage and drove the bus to an army camp.
“It was about 8 pm when the bus was surrounded by terrorists. They first fired from the front with the intention to eliminate the driver. I ducked sideways to escape the bullets and drove ahead. I do not know how I got the strength to go on at that time. Maybe Allah helped me and gave me strength,” Salim said. Salim, who also belongs to Gujarat, said he escaped unharmed in the incident while another passenger seated beside him was injured.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, said he would recommend his name for a bravery award. The bus bearing the registration number of Gujarat was on its way from Baltal to Jammu when the militants opened fire. According to officials, the bus was not a part of the yatra envoy and hence was not provided security cover. IG Muneer Khan said the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba militants.
Salim has been bringing pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra to the Valley for several years. He said he was sad that he could not save those 7 people who lost their lives to the bullets.
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