EDI Siege: 94 Rescued But A Bullet Pierced The Mouazin’s Abdomen

 

Bilal Bahadur

PINGLINA / SRINAGAR

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Daughters of the slain gardener.

As a huge crowd gathered to offer funeral prayers to the slain EDI gardener Abdul Gani Mir in Pinglina, one of the major villages in Pulwama outskirts, stories of a double tragedy was the main talk. Mir’s brother in law (wife’s brother) Mohammad Maqbool was killed in a target killing by militants in 2013. He was a policeman.

With nobody to take care of Maqbool’s family, his widow and kids moved to Mir’s place. Mir had his own family to sustain – two grown up daughters already in college and a minor son. On Saturday Mir fell to the bullets of militants holed up in the EDI complex where he was a gardener.

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EDI employees were pained by Mir’s death. They poured their heard on the social websites. “Gan Saeb, as I would call him, would many a times tell me, “mya ti chu na haz chaenee paeth ghari“, Zameer Qadri, one of the former employees wrote. “He would come to my room daily invariably to just greet me and would often say, “mya haz chu choan sakh. Bae haz aas bas salaam karni“.”

EDI internal newsletter
EDI internal newsletter

Sarwar Kashani, who also worked with EDI till recently has pasted a page of EDI’s internal newsletter on FB that was dedicated to the landscapers of the institution.

The lean man who would routinely be in the lawns of the EDI for last many years is remembered by his colleagues as a soft-spoken, God fearing hard worker. He was the Mouzain – the person who calls for prayers, in the local mosque adjacent to the EDI premises.

In fact on Saturday he and many others were offering jamaat (joint) Asr, late afternoon prayers, when the militants attacked a CRPF bus carrying paramilitary men. “Initially, they continued with their prayers but when the firing became ferocious, they stopped and took refuge in the ground floor,” one employee, who was rescued by the police late last night, said.

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The employee said that he took his bag and started moving out when he met three militants – one in Pheran and two without it. “They said, you move out fast, we have nothing with you,” he said. The first destination was Room 216 at the ground floor where most of the employees assembled. After some time, they tried to move out from the rare entry of the premises but found it locked from outside. Eventually they broke the window and moved out and took refuge in the neighbouring hostel towards the Jhelum river side. Soon they were joined by employees who were trapped in the second floor.

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It was from the hostel building that the employees started talking to the official for rescue. “Initially, we had suggested that we should be rescued from the river side but police said they will have to mobilize boats for which they do not have time,” one employee said. “They eventually drove with a gypsy and the rescue of women and older people started.”

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Next, an armoured vehicle got in. Though it was for rescue, it carried lot of cops and that angered militants. “When we were crawling out and boarding the vehicle, the militants targeted it and it in this mess that Mir got a bullet in his abdomen,” the witness said. “This forced cops and us to get back to the hostel.” Mir bled profusely for some minutes.

After some hiatus, the rescue restored and in various turns, all the trapped were moved out. They numbered 95. Cops left them near the BSNL towers outside.

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“The tragedy was that once we were out of the crisis, some people pelted stones and we lost tracked where we should go and finally we reached Zaffran colony wherefrom we hired a load career that helped us reach Patha Chowk late in the night,” the employee said.

funeral-of-ab-gani-mair-(7)Mir, was driven to the SMHS hospital in Srinagar where he was operated upon. But the bleeding did not stop forcing doctors to infuse nine pints of blood. He succumbed to his injuries at around 9:45 pm. He was driven home same night but was laid to rest Sunday.

EDI Director Dr M I Parray was one of the mourners. He flew to Srinagar early morning. “This tragedy has pained me,” Dr Parray said. “At EDI we will do whatever is possible to help the family.”

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Mir is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. One of his daughters is a post graduate in sociology and another has to appear for the twelfth grade. His son is in the eighth standard.

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