Feroz Ahmad Ahanger, a truck driver by profession was on his way home from New Delhi after shopping for his marriage when militants struck at twin places in Jammu. He was killed in the attack leaving behind his beloved to bereave for him. Riyaz Ul Khaliq reports Feroz’s last journey home.
It was bad health of Bashir Ahmad Ahanger that made his younger son Feroz Ahmad Ahanger to think beyond his studies.
In 2000, Bashir, who worked in State Road Transport Corporation, was paralyzed. Due to his bad health, Naseer Ahmad Ahanger, his elder son, started to look after his father and his younger brother Feroz.
“I looked after Feroz like my own son,” Feroz’s elder brother Naseer told Kashmir Life.
Bashir Ahmad had divorced his wife when his two sons were too young to understand the norms of life. Without any sort of movement on his own Bashir put-in his pre-mature retirement papers and he got some money from his department.
“We had to do everything for our father as he was completely bed ridden,” he said.
On Wednesday morning, (September 26th) when suspected militants shocked security establishment and killed four cops at Hira Nagar Police station, Jammu before moving to Samba where they attacked the army camp.
To cover the distance between Hira Nagar and Samba, the militants hijacked a truck by killing its Conductor, Feroz Ahmad Ahanger as claimed by police.
Feroz Ahmad belonged to Khonmuh and was a driver by profession. His elder brother Naseer worked hard to feed his small family and looked after his younger brother Feroz. He ensured this his younger brother receives good education. “I worked as a truck driver to feed my family,” Naseer who himself has two daughters says.
On one side Naseer had to look after his ailing father and on the other hand, he had to earn for his family. The two brothers took their turns to look after their father. It was 2009 that Naseer got married. In the same year, Feroz completed his 12 class examinations from a local Government school at Khonmuh.
Feroz had made up his mind to help his brother to run the family. “Feroz was a sincere brother. He knew what had befallen us, so he asked me to buy a truck for him from our father’s money that he got from his pre-mature retirement,” Naseer informed Kashmir Life amid sobs.
Now, Feroz drove his own truck and left his elder brother to look after his father. “He would transport cement and I never allowed him to move outside Kashmir,” Naseer said.
It is now forth year that he had left his studies mid way and was now a responsible son and a brother.
Last year this month, Bashir Ahmad breathed his last.
His family was now searching for a match for Feroz. Before his Bhaabi (Naseer’s wife) had found a match for him, Feroz disclosed the hidden truth. “I am already in love with somebody else,” Feroz told his Bhaabi.
“We did not force our choice on him. We agreed to his choice instead,” says Naseer.
Almost four months ago, Feroz got engaged to his beloved. “He got engaged four months ago,” Aejaz, Feroz’s cousin informed Kashmir Life.
Naseer said that now they were preparing for his marriage. “Early next year, we had planned to get him married.”
Feroz was working hard to help his brother who himself drove a truck now. He was planning to get all the requirements done before his date of marriage arrives. “He was very concerned about things one needs during marriages,” Aejaz informs.
Feroz was in a process of assembling things and had got his elder brother motivated to move to New Delhi to get clothes and other items for his marriage from there. “Feroz asked me that he was going to Delhi for shopping, though I was not ready at first but I had to bow before his demand,” Naseer said, adding, “He was like my son.”
Little did he know the journey he is going to undertake to New Delhi would be his last, but he went ahead and arranged a trip with his neighbor, Arif Ahmad Dar who also drove a truck.
“Arif would usually drive his truck on J&K-Delhi road and Feroz decided to accompany him to Delhi as he had no conductor,” Naseer said.
Last Saturday on September 21, they left for Delhi with the truck load of apples. And then after few days, they started coming back with loads of rice in his truck.
Last time Naseer talked to his brother was on Wednesday evening at 9:00 PM. “They were near Jammu and I advised him to travel safely to his home,” Naseer said.
Early Wednesday (26th September) when television channels across Jammu and Kashmir started flash news of militant attack in Jammu region, Feroz’s cousin Aejaz informed Naseer about the development. “Aejaz informed me about the incident and after some time we approached Police station Pantha Chowk,” Naseer narrates the tragedy that has befallen his family.
Hundreds of miles away from his home, Feroz was killed in cold blood by the militants taking his neighbor and driver of the truck Arif Ahmad Dar with them.
On Friday, at 7 AM police handed Feroz’s dead body to his family. The items that Feroz had purchased for his marriage are still in the truck that is with police station Samba.
Amid sobs, wailing and resentment, Feroz left his elder brother all alone.
While Feroz was lying in pool of blood, his beloved was waiting for the promised henna that Feroz was to bring from New Delhi.