This is Jama Masjid in Hyderpora area which has turned into a major relief centre for those affected by the devastating floods in the Kashmir valley, housing hundreds of people, including women and children.

Significantly, in this hour of tragedy, this mosque has become a symbol of communal harmony as a number of Hindus, who had come from outside the state for work, are also taking shelter here.

The inmates of this camp at the mosque, which remained unaffected by the floods, have come from various parts of the Valley and each one had a story of horror and pain to tell.
They narrate how water started coming into residential areas, how quickly the levels rose and how each of them managed to escape the fury, some on their own, some with the help of the army and some with the help of locals.

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"I, along with other three members of family, left our house on Sunday evening (August 31) when water level started rising fast. I arranged for a boat and first dispatched my daughter to the masjid. Then rest of us followed suit. Since then, we are staying in this masjid," says 58-year-old Bashir Ahmed Akhoon, a government servant.

60-year-old Khalida Akhtar narrates how she and six other members of her family, along with children, left their home in Tengpura in panic when water level rose on Sunday night.

"We first took shelter in a nearby hospital. But the building of the hospital also was in danger and distress calls were made to the police for help. Around midnight, the army came and rescued us. I am extremely grateful to them," she says.
She also expressed gratitude to the masjid authorities for providing shelter to the homeless family, which includes her husband, three sons, their wives and children.

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