When he heard his friends’ cries for help as the waves swept them away, 23-year-old Iftekar Shaikh didn’t think twice before diving in to save them. He even managed to rescue one girl, but his second attempt proved fatal.
Iftekar Shaikh was a good swimmer and used his skills to save one girl, but did not return after he dived back to save another (right) Iftekar’s sister Rukshana Hasmi is among the victims’ family members who held the college responsible for the mishap
“My brother was a good swimmer and he died saving his friends,” said Rukshana Hasmi, Iftekar’s sister.
Iftekar was a final year computer science student at Pune’s Abeda Inamdar College, Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to help start-ups, Iftekar had plans to start a business of his own, once he finished college. In a family of five, Iftekar was the youngest. He is survived by his father (a cook), his mother (a housewife), and his older siblings.
Iftekar was not among the students who ventured into the sea to click photographs. He was, in fact, eating lunch when the high tide swept away his friends.
“My brother was a very helpful person. He left his food when he saw his friends drowning and jumped into the sea to save them. He successfully managed to pull out one of the girls, Alifiya Kazi, and then tried to bring her to consciousness. He went in again, to rescue another girl, but this time he didn’t return,” added Rukshana.
Speaking to mid-day, Alifiya Kazi, a second-year student, said, “I am thankful to Iftekar, who saved my life. He died before he could save anyone else.”
Iftekar’s friend and junior, Tosif Khan, witnessed the entire episode. “After we were done swimming, Iftekar and I went to have lunch. When he heard our friends pleading for help, he didn’t even give me a chance to alert the faculty, and ran towards the sea. He pulled out one girl, and after that, we asked him not to go back, but he was confident and said he would be back. But he did not return. He was a brilliant student and a good cricketer. We will miss him,” said the second-year student.
Iftekar’s sister was among the family members of other vicrims who said the college should accept responsibility for the mishap. “The college cannot play a blame game. They too are responsible for the incident as they should have been better prepared, while organising a picnic. Students usually break rules, but what were the teachers doing? Why didn’t they enquire about the high tide’s timing? If they had done so, 14 innocent lives could have been saved,” said Rukshana.