Everyday Harmony: Heroes to the rescue – Muslims amongst many pitch in to save lives in Morbi

A silver line of hope as migrant workers, neighbours, agniveers risk their lives to save those drowning in the Machhu river


Heartwarming reports of good samaritans, many of them Muslims, risking their lives to save those drowning in the Machhu river, are adding a silver line of hope in the otherwise bleak aftermath of the tragedy in Gujarat’s Morbi. Over 130 people are feared dead on Sunday when allegedly 700 people thronged the British-era suspension bridge, leading to its collapse. Incidentally, the bridge had been shut for renovations and had only recently been thrown open to the public. 

After the bridge collapsed around 6:30 PM, Mahbub Hussain Pathan, a local resident, was called by a local reporter. He rushed to the site.  An expert swimmer, he claims to have saved about 50-60 lives. Among them, he says, were pregnant ladies, young people and kids.



Even though it was getting dark, Taufik bhai, another local resident, jumped in the waters,and managed to save 35 lives. In a video clip recorded by a TV channel, he says that he had tears in his eyes because of the sheer number of children fighting to get out. 



The hero who never returned

Naeem Sheikh, a migrant worker from Kolkata, working in the jewelry making sector, rushed with five of his friends to the site of the tragedy. He says between them, they managed to save 50-60 people. but lost a friend Habibul Sheikh. “By then we had all had ingested a lot of water. One of us never came back”, he tells a TV channel. 

There were many others too, who risked their life and limb to save strangers. The Quint has a report about Hussain, an ambulance driver who, alongwith Milan Prakashbhai, ferried the injured and dead to the hospital all night. This when his own cousin had perished in the tragedy. Haseena, a social worker helped in identifying bodies by cleaning them in the civil hospital. Ravi and his friend chipped in to provide food and water to the injured. 

Agniveers to the rescue

Jignesh Laljibhai trains young men for the agniveer program. According to him, he saw the broken bridge on his way back from a training run and directed his trainees to jump in and rescue people. Those who knew how to swim, jumped in. The others provided ropes and helped people come out of the water from the bank. 

With political forces increasingly seeking to polarize the country on religious lines and particularly in a poll bound state where religious polarization is the norm, it is perhaps important to remember how love and courage keep us united, and save lives, in the face of a tragedy as enormous as this. 



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