It was a sunny Monday (February 22) and Farman Ali (16) as usual had taken his herd of buffaloes to pasture, where he took his sickle out to cut the grass. It was around 7 in the morning.
After finishing his task around 11, he took a nap. Suddenly, he heard slogans and thuds. He immediately went up and looked around. What he saw his neighbors setting ablaze houses of their Muslim brethren in Sarore. “I couldn’t believe my eyes and didn’t know what to do,” he said, “they were RSS men, my neighbors.”
What was more traumatic for Ali, he alleges, “in this loot and plunder, police were assisting them.”
When the “attack” took place, Ali said, “there were only six men in the village, the rest were elderly and toddlers.” “The mob was mercilessly burning and ransacking our homes,” he said, “I along with my father, Bashir Ahmed, and other four men present in the Sarore village tried to stop them.”
However, the communal frenzied mob, Farman claims, were blind in their acts. “They beat us to pulp with their lathis (bamboo sticks) and weapons. After, rendering us half dead, the police headed by SHO Bari-Brahmana fired directly at us.”
In this carnage, Farman Ali was hit by a bullet in his left shoulder and other one, identified as Yakub Gujjar was killed on the spot besides injuring Latief Gujjar.
But before Ali could fell unconscious, he saw how his father was beaten ruthlessly. “Both of his arms were broken and was being dragged with burnt ropes of their domestic animals.”
“I fell on ground and was in a pool of blood,” Ali says. Lying there, Farman helplessly witnessed how village’s women-folk, elders and kids were being “taken being taken to police station like hordes of animals”. “In the ensuing blaze, a six month baby got its foot burnt.” “It was like what happened in Gujarat in 2002!”
“I was taken by two girls of adjoining Raimorh village to GMC Jammu where I was operated upon,” Farman says, “it was after three hours that angels in form of those girls saved my life.”
Back in Sarore when villagers were released after night’s alleged beating in police station, Bashir whose arms were broken started seeking his son’s whereabouts.
After coming to know that his son Farman Ali was in GMC Jammu, he straight rushed to it.
“When my father reached the hospital, tears started rolling down our cheeks,” he said, “we could not help each other. We were hapless.”
Bashir Ahmad now sought help from doctors to plaster his broken arms. “But, when medicos came to know that he was a Sarore victim, they chose not to cure him.”
“The doctors categorically told us: ‘don’t lodge any complaint against the incident’,” he claims. “I can’t forget the carnage,” Bashir replied to the demand of “communal” doctors. He was, subsequently, denied medication, Farman claims.
“In our own land, we have to live a refugees’ life,” Farman rues, “that too under tremendous threat and pressure.”
The Gujjar boy who is lying in a hospital for advanced treatment has a question for those at the helm of affairs: “if we too are state subjects, why are we being made to suffer at the hands of fanatic forces?”