The wreckage of the jeep lies in a ravine in Dudhniyal area of Neelum Valley on Sunday.—Dawn
The wreckage of the jeep lies in a ravine in Dudhniyal area of Neelum Valley on Sunday.—Dawn

MUZAFFARABAD: Two nonagenarians were among six women who lost their lives while another eight persons were injured when a vehicle they were on board plunged into a ravine in Neelum Valley of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday, officials said.

The victims were returning to their homes in Thanda Pani village, hardly one kilometre away from the Beesanwali polling station in Dudhniyal area, where they had earlier cast their votes in the local government elections. Dudhniyal lies some 120km northeast of here on the left bank of Neelum River.

The overloaded jeep plunged some 300 feet down the link road into a dried channel at a spot known as Chhari at around 12:30pm, District Disaster Mana­gement Officer Akhtar Ayoub told Dawn from Athmuqam.

As a result, six women died on the spot. They were identified as Alaf Jan, 95; Atar Jan, 70; Zewar Jan, 80; Shamim Akhtar, 50; Sahibzadi, 90, and Nasreen Bibi, 50.

Victims were returning home after casting votes in LG polls

The injured included Amna Bibi, 35; Bibi Jan, 105; Wilayat Jan, 80; Mahira, 12; Sobia, 35; Bashir Malik, 22; Ashiq Malik, 30, and driver Fida Hussain, a resident of Sharda.

Five of them, including the driver, were shifted to CMH Muzaffarabad owing to their critical condition while the rest had been treated locally in BHU Dudhniyal. All the victims, except the driver, belonged to one family.

AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas described the incident as “heart-wrenching”. On Twitter, he said he had instructed the local administration to fully cooperate with the families of victims in burials and treatment.

Meanwhile, in another incident partly related with polling, a 25 year old differently-abled man died of burn wounds when his family had gone to cast votes.

Akhtar Ayoub said Faqeer Hussain’s family members switched on a gas heater for him and left for polling themselves. In the meanwhile the gas cylinder exploded torching the house and causing his death.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022

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