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Salim braved volley of bullets to drive Amarnath pilgrims to safety

SNS | New Delhi |

Had he not used his presence of mind, the terror attack on the bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims on Monday evening would have resulted in loss of more innocent lives.

Meet Salim Mirza, the brave driver of the bus, who drove the pilgrims to safety amid indiscriminate firing by militants. The attack on the bus with 56 passengers aboard left seven dead and over 30 injured.

"I didn't stop the bus because the indiscriminate firing was underway. I kept driving. God gave me the strength to keep moving and I just did not stop," Salim said.

Understanding that stopping only meant more damage, Salim continued to drive for almost two kilometers amid the terror attack and took his passengers to a nearby army camp.

“It was about 8 pm when the bus was surrounded by terrorists. They first fired from the front with the intention to eliminate the driver. I ducked sideways to escape the bullets and drove ahead. I do not know how I got the strength to go on at that time. Maybe Allah helped me and gave me strength,” Salim was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Salim, who also belongs to Gujarat, said he escaped unharmed in the incident while another passenger seated beside him was injured.

According to reports, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said he will nominate Salim's name for a bravery award.

"We want to thank the bus driver who saved many lives amid heavy firing. The Gujarat government will nominate Salim for the bravery award with the central government," Rupani was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Meanwhile, the bodies of all the seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims killed by militants arrived in Surat with the Gujarat government announcing Rs.10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the dead.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani received the bodies along with 19 injured pilgrims and 32 others who were flown from Srinagar. Rupani also announced Rs. 2 lakh each for those injured in the Mondayterror attack.

Seven people were killed and 19 others injured on Monday evening when militants opened fire at the bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district.

(With inputs from agencies)