How a viral image spoils official’s first visit to remote J&K village

An image of Showkat Aijaz Bhat being carried on a makeshift cot went viral on social media, but it emerges that the picture may not have told the whole story. The deputy commissioner with the Jammu and Kashmir government, who was photographed while being carried by the residents of a remote village, said he was unsure if he could finish the trek. The locals who carried him were making sure that a senior official gets to inspect their villages for the first time since independence, he said. The image of the Kashmir Administrative Service officer visiting Ramban in Jammu and Kashmir went viral and netizens dubbed him as a Bhat said an administrators job is to serve the people, so he had to be at their doorstep. As there was no means of transport, the locals carried him The local officials said Bhat and other officials from the district headquarters were visiting the area, about 20 km from the Ramban town. The Chakka-Kundi area which has four panchayats Ramban was part of Doda till it was declared a separate district in 2014, however, most of its administrative officials are still based in Doda. Subash Chander, the headman of Kundi village, confirmed that their village did not even have a dispensary, so villagers have to walk about 8 km on the mountainous terrain along the Chenab to access healthcare facilities. Therefore, the locals were keen that a senior official visited their villages to understand the numerous issues they face. READ ALSO | However, a one km-long stretch was narrow and in a bad condition. Therefore, it was decided that the team of officials would travel by foot. However, after 2 km, Chief animal husbandry officer Dr Sunil Seru felt breathless and dehydrated, so he was left behind to take rest. The deputy commissioner walked for 7 km before complaining of breathlessness and fatigue. Headman Chander said the official was not in a position to walk the rest of the stretch. The villagers insisted that the official visited their village and made a makeshift palki to carry him as mules were unavailable, Chander who held an umbrella for Bhat said. Shah Faesal, the first IAS topper from Kashmir and now a Jammu and Kashmir People Faesal says he was surprised to see the pictures as Bhatt, a former colleague of his, is a