Last week an army patrol stepped inside AshiqHussain’s compound and shot him dead. The army officials have accepted that it was a mistake. Mudasir Majeed meets the family of the killed young man who ask why order a probe if the army accepts what happened.
Ye Meenisjananas Korukh, tigasantumanti Karin(What they (army) did to my son, they should meet the same fate.) Su ousmueenmahraz, Jawanosum— (He was my groom; he was young.) Tim kusKhataooskormut—Kim jurmuksazaduthas—(what wrong had he done. For what crime was he punished)”, croons Misra Begum, mother of Ashiq Hussain Rather, who was shot dead by soldiers at Lyser Baramulla last week.
Lyser, a village in North Kashmir’s Baramulla District, situated nearly 2kms away from the Watergam army Cantonment, has never been the place of suspicion for the army, as the locals claim.
“I have never in my life observed any militancy related activity here, for our village is surrounded by army and police on all sides, and the regular patrols by them are enough to dash every such act,” says Farooq Ahmed, 40. “I utterly fail to comprehend, how our village became the hunting place now, when not even in 90s, when the militancy was at peak”, he adds.
“It was the Friday, 10th- February, I had just returned from mosque, after Isha prayers. When we finished dinner I asked everyone, if anyone has to go for nature’s call. Rukhsana and Shayesta, my two daughters, went out. As we were preparing to sleep, in a jiffy, they leapt in. Panicky, the two fell flat on floor, “Lalakustaam ha chunibrikani, aes ha mayedarrseath (Lala (father) someone is outside, we almost died with fear), they said in a fumbling nervous tune, ” says Mohammed Akbar rather, Ashiq rahter’s father.
Akbar says that as his daughters spoke this, Ashiq, his son, had run out to see if someone was really there.
“Ashiq was of the opinion that it might be dogs, or any cattle thieves. As he ran out, my two daughters followed him. We were still inside. Soon, we heard a fire and ran out. Ashiq had fallen. Just four yards away from the kitchen door, he was lying in a pool of blood. I saw a huge number of armymen emerging from behind the cattle-shed and coop. As I tried to move towards him torch light exposed my face and I saw gun butts being struck against me, and angry calling “anderbetho, anderbetho, (move in, move in) from the army men, ” reveals Akbar.
The two daughters of Akbar Rather, who had followed Ashiq, say that they saw their brother being dragged by neck by armymen.
“I clearly saw soldiers dragging him as he stepped out. They pressed his neck, otherwise he would have called us, or at least would have been able to make some gesture, so that army could have recognized that he wasn’t any wrong person but just our above-the-suspicion brother, Ashiq, ” says Shafiqa, sister of the deceased.
Their house is fenced with tin sheets on all sides. There hardly seems any scope for entry into the yard of Akbar Rather. Whenever a person tries to enter the yard, the sound of tin alarms the family about the movement. But on that ill-fated evening, the soldiers had moved in through the narrow inner yard gatewhich leads to Ashiq’s uncle, Ghulam Mohammed’s house, which was open. This entry is just for the two families to move into each other’s house.
“Army had first entered my brother’s house, who is in police, and had talked to him and his sons. They had been told to keep indoors. Then they (army) moved into our yard”, says Akbar.
He further adds, “When they could enter my brother’s house and chatted with his family normally and alerted them, what was wrong then with us. Couldn’t they inform us the same way? Now they (army) are telling, it was accidental death, how?”
“The army General, Hasnain embraced me and apologized. Why do they sympathize after they kill? I have lost everything. I have to marry off four daughters. He was the mainstay of family,” says Akbar.
Akbar Rather has no faith in government probe underway. “Ministers and high rank police officers came by air and went off by air. They didn’t even step up to my house. They will never stop the kill-game,” adds Akbar.
“When General Hasnain embraced me, he said the killing was army’s mistake. When he himself admits, what is the need of probe then? Let him prosecute the killer?” demands Akbar.