Kristo Kamar EM

b. ?  d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION:  02/1926 Tikak Colliery, Assam, India.

Very little is known about the life of Kristo Kamar, other than his actions in Assam, India, during February 1926.



During the month of February, 1926, sections of a coal mine at the Tikak Colliery in Assam caught fire. The burning sections had been sealed off by dams but on February 25th a strong smell of fire became perceptible in a seam of the mine in which work was proceeding. The European Manager with two European foremen and a gang of coolies proceeded to plaster the dams but after six hours’ work the majority of the men became affected by the fumes of carbon monoxide gas and the party were forced to withdraw. Early on the morning of February 26th the three Europeans with forty coolies resumed the work but after spending little more than an hour in the seam the whole of the party collapsed. Bhikam Sirdar, a contractor who had been engaged in the fire area on the previous day and was feeling the effects of the gas, arrived on the scene and brought three men into the fresh air. He then proceeded to obtain further assistance and meeting Kristo Kamar, the head Sirdar, at the entrance to the seam directed him to take two coolies who were with him and to do what he could to get the men out. He himself collected twenty more coolies and then returned to the fire area where Kristo Kamar had succeeded in bringing out the three Europeans and six coolies all unconscious. Bhikam and Kristo then proceeded to bring out the remaining coolies, all of whom were badly affected by the gas, and one died. The men rescued had to be brought about 80 yards along narrow roadways into the fresh air and subsequently to the entrance of the mine which was some hundreds of yards away.

Both Bhikam Sirdar and Kristo Kamar behaved with great bravery and but for their action there is no doubt that many lives would have been lost. Both men from their previous day’s experience were well aware of the danger they were incurring and of the risk to their own lives. Bhikam. Sirdar gallantly started the rescue operations himself and then wisely organised first a small rescue party under Kristo and then a larger body to complete the work. Kristo Kamar was instrumental in saving three Europeans and six natives and continued with the work of rescue until he himself was overcome by the gas.