SRINAGAR: The 86-page judgement pronounced by Haq Nawaz Zargar, the Principal Sessions Judge Ramban, that sent a surrendered militant turned SPO to life imprisonment, the horrors of a daughter are recorded verbatim. The convict, Abdul Gafoor Bhat, had killed his wife, mother of his three children, and her brother-in-law firing 19 bullets from the AK56 rifle that police provided him as part of his duty.

“The accused (her father) broke the door and came inside the room and mother caught his rifle. Accused fired which hit on the roof and also hit the floor,” the judgment quotes Intsam Bhat, the elder of the slain lady’s three children telling the court. She was then a seventh class student. “After some time during the scuffle a gunshot was received by the mother and she fell on the bed. At this time, her maternal uncle (Mamu) came and the accused started firing her mother at the bed and the gunshot hit her mother at leg, arm, and the body. Her maternal uncle had come to rescue her mother. Her maternal uncle deceased Farooq fled away from the spot. Her father ran behind him and a bullet hit him an arm at the gate and he (maternal uncle) reached in the lane while running but the accused fired bullet to him from backside and ran away from the spot.”

This bloody drama took place on May 9, 2011, at Maitra locality in Ramban where Abdul Gafoor Bhat was living with his wife, Rehmta Begum. Together, they had three children, two daughters, Intsam, Arzoo and Aayan. They owned the house and part of the premises they had rented out where a family was also living.

The court has not offered any detail about the motive of the murder but some witnesses have recorded that Bhat was telling Begum to give up her job. She was also an SPO.

Bhat, son of Dina, is a resident of Jura village that falls in Thathri tehsil of Doda. He was a militant. On May 13, 1999, he surrendered before the police and the army.  Two months later, he was appointed as SPO and told to report at Ramban. In fact, Begum was also appointed the SPO. Their daughter told the court that since her two uncles had been killed, her parents’ feared an attack over their life. This was the reason, she said, they migrated and were living in Ramban’s Maitra Ward 7.

Bhat was posted at Ramshoo and Begum at Ramban. They would meet once or twice in a month and mostly Bhat would come normally without any weapon. On the day of the murders, Bhat, had fled from duty with the rifle – for which police had already registered a case involving his absence and the missing of the key weapon.

Not many arguments had taken place at their home that evening. After the dinner, it was shooting. They had eaten separately and had not been living in the same room for a long time.

After the firing, Bhat had stood guard against anybody helping the injured – his wife and her brother One was dying on her bed in the house and another in the lane outside as he was fired while fleeing the spot of the firing. Even police officers who deposed before the court said they had to make a serious effort to disarm Bhat. He was shouting that anybody who tries to help the two would be fired upon.

It was Intsam, however, who knocked at various neighbours begging them to come and rescue her mother who was in a pool of blood. Some of them told the court that they did come and after trying to do some bandaging her wounds, they managed to take her to the hospital. This, they said, was before the police reached the spot.

Seemingly, both had lost a lot of blood before the police came and evacuated them to the hospital with the help of the local residents. Begum died the same night while being operated on in Jammu. Farooq, her brother, was being driven to Jammu when he passed away well before he could reach the hospital.

Bhat is in Udhampur jail. His offence was proved by the court of law and the judgement was read to him through a video link. He will stay in jail for a life term. His punishment for violating the law of taking the rifle home will go concurrently. He will have to cough up Rs 50,000 that will be spent on the welfare of the three children.

The kids spent some time with her other maternal uncles in Doda. Grown-up, they have returned to their Ramban home to relive the tragedy that killed their mother, Mamu and, as a result of which, the law sent their father to jail for a long time.


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