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'Humsaayas' of Awaam

The Marine Commandos or the MARCOS have been employed in Wular Lake since 1990’s, when the militancy was at its peak in the Valley. Since then, this Force has undertaken various tasks as per their duty with special focus towards providing friendly assistance to the local fishermen of the Wular and marooned families whose kith and kin have been drowned. Jhelum and its numerous rivulets play an important role in day to day life of Kashmiri AWAAM and provide a means for their livelihood. Dependency of people on these water bodies has led to many unfortunate events such as capsizing of boats and accidental drowning of individuals including children. On an annual average, around 100 cases of drowning are reported in Kashmir. Situation becomes further unbearable for the family when the bodies of those, who die due to drowning, cannot be traced for days altogether. It is during such tragic times, that the MAROCS are called in by the district administration in providing diving specialists on request.

Since Mother Nature is loving but sometimes unforgiving, every dive undertaken carries with it a risk of life. Loss of sense of direction, an extremely cold dark world with no sound is a spine chilling imaginative ordeal of a diver’s state, as his life is tended on a lifeline by his buddy on the surface. At times, there are numerous unfavorable factors and associated risks such as freezing temperatures, treacherous terrain, bad weather, poor visibility, strong under currents and other intermittent hindrances, which may prevent the operation to progress at a fast pace thus making these operations extremely challenging. However, there is no looking back by the MARCOS team, when it comes to serving the AWAAM.

On 20 January, 2019, in a daring rescue operation of its kind, MARCOS team while on regular patrol, rescued a mother-daughter duo from the Wular lake in Bandipora district after their boat had capsized. The boat was on its way to Sopore when the incident took place. The MARCOS, disregarding their personal safety, rescued the mother and the daughter by jumping into the lake without any safety gear on person. While the locals

lauded the MARCOS for their prompt action, the mother blessed them for saving their lives.

On 21 June 2019, a 21 year old youth Lateef Ahmed Dar was feared drowned into the river Jhelum, when his boat capsized near S K Bala (Hajin) of Bandipora District. After a lot of extensive search and efforts, finally the dead body of the youth was recovered after two days from the river by the MARCOS team. The saga goes unending as numerous recoveries of mortal remains, submerged vehicles and assistance and rehabilitation of stranded personnel during floods carried out by the MARCOS bear testimony to their professionalism. The MARCOS have also undertaken various people friendly measures under Operation Namaste in reaching out to the fishermen community in the Wular Lake, with an aim to spread awareness about the Novel corona virus and distribution of rations, health kits and other equipment to them, amidst the nation’s ongoing fight against COVID – 19. For the locals, MAROCS are always a call away, whenever the fishermen are in any kind of need or assistance. They have been associated with the people when any activity is carried out in the Wular Lake like cleanliness drive, providing medicines, protection and care, whenever needed.

In the past 24 years of their existence in Kashmir Valley, MARCOS have provided their valuable services towards assistance during floods, accidental drowning and other natural calamities. As on date, more than 500 Diving Operations have been undertaken by the MARCOS in Kashmir. In fact, they have gained special recognition for their valuable commitment and support in carrying out the task towards restoring normalcy and always providing an invaluable helping hand to the fishermen community of the Wular Lake in times of need, thus proving to be the true ‘Humsaayas’ of the AWAAM.

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