Ashmuqam Murders: The Complete Story

SRINAGAR: A man in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, alleged to be a drunkard and drug addict by some while mentally challenged and allegedly under influence of a faith healer by others, killed his own mother and two neighbours on Friday morning along with injuring six others.

A baker by profession, Javaid Ahamd Rather, as per his father wasn’t mentally challenged but lost his semblance ever since he came under the influence of a Srinagar-based faith healer.

He says that Rather lost his cool early morning and when he tried to stop him, he (Rather) hit him on his head.

“A day prior, I had got him back from Pahalgam where he was roaming and took him to the Peer who asked us to sacrifice a sheep. We did but don’t know what took over him,” Rather’s father, Ghulam Hassan, said, adding that his son wasn’t a drug addict or a drunkard.

“If he would have been an addict then how come he had two-three traditional bakery shops? He was happily married and has two daughters,” he said. Javaid was owning and ran three baking shops in Pahalgam which were manned by 10 people.

He says that after his son hit him, he went to neighbours seeking help. By then he had already taken his mother on the pretext of going to a shrine. “He killed her on the way and then hit everyone else who came in his way.”

One of his relatives said he was the man who had raised his fathers and his own family. He was the elder of three siblings including a sister. He had constructed the home and was feeding the family. He has his own family as well. His family members said he was a devout follower of a Brain faith healer who would visit him often.

However, a local said that if he wasn’t a drunkard or an addict then how was he running a normal business? “He was completely mentally normal but was addicted to liquor or drugs. That is why he killed so many people.”

The locals said that society should come forward to rein in such people.

However, another local said that Rather wasn’t an addict or a drunkard.

Rather attacked his mother Hafiza Begum with a cane which left her seriously injured and died on the spot. After he hit his father, his mother was reluctant to accompany him and was fearing he would attack her as well. On Rather’s insistence, she agreed to accompany him, only after he threw away the wooden log that he had used to attack his father. Ony then accompanied him. However, he killer her midway.

As neighbours came to the rescue of the family under attack from their son, the man started targeting everyone in the neighbourhood.

Two people – Mohammad Amin Shah and Ghulam Nabi Khadim – were also killed in the alleged attack by the man.

After the incident, a police team rushed to the spot. The accused has been arrested, and a case has been filed.

A neighbour said that Rather tried to go out naked. But Hafiza Begum tried to prevent him from leaving the home.

“It appears to have infuriated him. He targeted his mother first and then attacked everyone who came in his way,” said former lawmaker Altaf Ahmad Kaloo who also lives in the neighbourhood.

A day ago, Rather was reportedly detained by the police at Pahalgam when he was roaming around naked in the market. Some people said he used to consume charas earlier but in Pahalgam, he was seen naked carrying a bottle of liquor.

Meanwhile, the police are yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party have both expressed “shock” over the incident.

“Locals are alleging that the perpetrator of the heinous and despicable act is mentally unsound. The incident should be a point of concern for all of us. The first step towards stopping such incidents starts with contemplation by all of us. Locals are also alleging that the incident is the awful manifestation of wanton drug abuse and substance use. It is for the government to ascertain the circumstances that led to this incident,” NC said in a statement.

Apni Party General Secretary Rafi Ahmad Mir on Friday expressed his deep grief over the “horrible incident in south Kashmir’s Aishmuqam, wherein a drug addict, who went on a rampage and murdered three people including a woman and left as many as six persons injured this morning.”

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