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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 April 2024

For groom, a CRPF chariot: Indian army helps snow-struck man in Kashmir to reach his bride

As the Valley was covered by a thick blanket of snow on Wednesday, Mukhtar Ahmad Poswal — the groom from Branpathri village in south Kashmir’s Tral — became anxious about how to get his bride home from Gutroo village, some 20km by road

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 22.02.24, 05:42 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Armoured vehicles carrying heavily armed security force personnel charging into a village in Kashmir’s countryside is enough to panic residents, but on Wednesday they were welcomed with open arms.

The vehicles were part of a Baraat helping a desperate young groom stuck in the snow to fetch his bride. In one of the bulletproof vehicles was seated the groom, who later returned home in the same vehicle along with the bride.

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As the Valley was covered by a thick blanket of snow on Wednesday, Mukhtar Ahmad Poswal — the groom from Branpathri village in south Kashmir’s Tral — became anxious about how to get his bride home from Gutroo village, some 20km by road.

Both villages are nestled in the mountains of Tral, once a militancy hotbed. The area was home to militancy poster boy Burhan Wani, whose death in 2016 triggered a months-long Valley-wide unrest that left around 100 civilians dead in security
forces firing.

Mukhtar initially rode a horse before taking a shorter mule trek to his bride’s home but snow was making their journey difficult. Then the family decided to call the CRPF.

“Our road was cut off by snow. That is when we called 180 Bn of the CRPF for help. They responded to our pleas and came with three to four vehicles to rescue us,”
Mukhtar said.

“People dream of going in big cars for the Baraat. But I am lucky to have gone in a CRPF vehicle.”

Videos of the Baraat show the armoured vehicle, carrying the groom, taking a gorgeous snowy road. A snow-clearing machine was leading from the front to clear the path.

Ram Jeth, a CRPF officer, said Branpathri is home to tribal people (Gujjars).

“The groom called us saying that the snow was hampering their marriage. I called my senior officer for permission and we reached this place (Branpathri) in vehicles with great difficulty. He might be the first groom to go in a CRPF vehicle for his Baraat,” he said.

Gutroo resident Manzoor Ahmad Mir, a contractor with a local panchayat, said the groom stayed at the bride’s home for more than an hour.

“Later, they came down to Satura, which is one kilometre away, from where the CRPF again took them back to their village,” Mir told The Telegraph.

“The family had not expected snow yesterday as it was sunny for several days in the run-up to marriage.”

Mir said his village had received less than a foot of snow, which made the travel difficult.

“The Baraat had to pass through Tral town where roads were cleared of snow. But Branpathri and Gutroo are in hilly areas. Had they come on foot, it would perhaps have been impossible for them to come and return in a day.”

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