All seven Murshidabad residents had gone to Kashmir to work at apple orchards. (Photo Credit: PTI File Photo)
Bashirul Sarkar, the only labourer fortunate to have escaped Tuesday's terrorist attack in Kashmir, said he would never return to the Valley, no matter what the financial circumstances are. Devastated over the loss of five of his friends, who were gunned down in Kulgam district of the Union Territory, Sarkar said on Thursday that he was yet to come to terms with the ghastly incident. Sarkar had gone out to fetch food when terrorists had attacked his fellow mates. Five were shot dead and a sixth labourer, who sustained bullet injuries, was undergoing treatment at a Srinagar hospital.
"Ill never go back to Kashmir... I've lost five of my friends there. I'll do something else to survive but would never want to go back to Kashmir for work, Sarkar told PTI at Kolkata’s SSKM hospital, where he was admitted for a day after reaching the city on Wednesday from the trouble-torn Valley.
The mortal remains of the five slain labourers were also brought to the city on Wednesday night and taken to their hometown in Bahal Nagar village of West Bengal's Murshidabad district. They were laid to rest on Thursday afternoon.
All seven Murshidabad residents had gone to Kashmir to work at apple orchards. Asked to recount the events that unfolded on Tuesday, Sarkar said, "I had been working the entire day and returned home in the evening. Shortly after, I went out to fetch cooked rice for all of us. Suddenly, after walking a certain distance, the shopkeepers in the area shouted 'bhago, bhago yeha se bhago' (run away from here).
"I could not tell what happened but I ran to our employer's house nearby There, we heard sounds of firing... then it all ended. They were my friends. We left for Kashmir together but could not return to our homes together.
The 42-year-old said he owned a small piece of land where he had sown paddy seeds during the last week of September before leaving for Kashmir. "I want to go home. I want to see my family, my mother, my daughter and my wife... I dont want to stay here any longer, a visibly jittery Sarkar said before his release from the hospital.
A team of Kolkata Police accompanied the 42-year-old labourer to his hometown in Murshidabad, around 31km from district headquarters Behrampore. Doctors, who attended to Sarkar, said there was no danger to his heath, but "Bashirul needs professional help to recover from the shock and trauma". "We released him as he had been insisting on going back home to meet his family. Sarkar has been asked to follow our prescribed medicines and guidance," a senior doctor at the SSKM hospital said.
Pradeep Saha, the director of the Institute of Psychiatry at the SSKM hospital, stressed that Sarkar should have undergone a brief psychological treatment. "He has witnessed a dreadful incident and was suffering from trauma. At the moment, there is no threat to his health but he should have taken help to overcome the trauma. He should have been shifted to the psychiatry department," he added.