More people would have lost their lives in the Amarnath Yatra terrorist attack if the driver of the bus wouldn’t have used his presence of mind. Yes, Saleem, the driver of the bus that was carrying the pilgrims showed his heroic side and saved almost 50 people out 56 who were on the bus which was on its way from Baltal to Jammu.
A survivor of the attack narrated the heroic act of Saleem. According to the survivor, Saleem used his mind and risked his life to save the lives of the passengers from the terror attack. Terrorists were firing indiscriminately and still, Saleem kept on driving the bus for another two kilometers, instead of stopping. Saleem knew that stopping the bus would be more harmful. He then moved the 50 passengers to a safer place, near an Army camp. Also, Saleem insisted the conductor jam the doors of the bus to avoid any invasion by the terrorists.
When Saleem was asked about the courage that he showed during such hard times, he said,
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.
Another passenger thanked Saleem for his presence of mind and saving their lives, he said,
Terrorists started firing from all three sides. We didn’t know what to do. Thanks to the presence of mind of the driver who drove the bus for 2-3 km and saved our lives.
Saleem has also been praised by Gujarat’s’ Chief Minister for his bravery. His name has also been suggested to be nominated for the bravery award. When IGP Kashmir, Muneer Khan, spoke to the survivors of the attack, they were all thankful to Saleem for showing so much courage and saving them. According to the driver, the passengers trusted him and he didn’t want to break their trust.
If Saleem wouldn’t have been there, we would have lost almost everyone who was on the bus. Saleem’s heroic act is a befitting reply to those who are trying to ignite fights in the name of religion within the nation.