by Faheem Mir
RAFIABAD: On Tuesday, June 13, at around 5 am people of Walutrah in north Kashmir’s Rafiabad belt, some 20 kms away from town Baramulla, started visiting the Chopan family. Despite being awake the whole night, the
Unaware about the happenings in Pulwama, the family members of Ghulam Hassan Chopan were asleep after the night long prayers on the occasion of the holiest Muslim night, the Shab e Qadar.
Somebody has informed one of the Chopan neighbours about the killing of their elder son in the attack on the new court complex in south Kashmir district.
Unaware about the fact, 10 years old Hilal was waiting for his father as he has promised him that he will visit home only after the Eid and get some gifts for him. He knew he will have Eid without his father but was sure that he will get gifts a day later. Most of the cops on field duty usually do not join their families on Eid.
The family was crestfallen when a body bag landed in the village. Earlier, they were told than their man was injured.
Soon, thousands of people including relatives, friends and media persons started descending on the dusty village. They waited for hours for the body to arrive.
On June 12, at around 8 pm Chopan called his elder son Sajid, 23 and advised him to go for night long prayers along with his two brothers.
Chopan talked to his wife and the father also. His father had survived an attack of brain haemorrhage in 2014. “He used to talk to me every day to know my wellbeing,” a wailing Wali Mohammad said.
Ghulam Hassan had visited home barely four days back. He had stayed for the night. “He had come to give us some money for celebrate Eid,”, slain cop’s son Sajid said. “How can we celebrate Eid now without him?”
“Why did you break your promise, Papa? Why did you leave us alone? Didn’t you say I will be home for Eid,” the wails of his son reverberated on social networks and triggered a sort of a storm. “Wasn’t your neck hurting? Let me massage you.”
It was very hard to see the health condition of Chopan’s mother Azi Begum, his wife Misra Begum, father and his younger brother. His mother is diabetic; heart patient the brother Riyaz Ahmad is not able to communicate properly and remains silent. Riyaz has been in this condition for many years now.
“Riyaz was picked up by 32RR of Watergam garrison from home in 2008 and was tortured there for many days,” his cousin Mushtaq Ahmad said. “He cannot communicate properly.”
Riyaz is mentally abnormal and this communication barrier affected his life badly.
The army released him only after consulting doctors who certified his inabilities by birth. “We bring him home half dead,” Mushtaq said.
His brother Riyaz was not the only responsibility of the slain cop. Ghulam Hassan had married off all his five sisters. “In fact his family is full of patients, his younger son, mother and wife are about to go through surgeries that will cost a big amount,” Mushtaq said.
There is no other source of income for the family as he was the sole bread winner. It was purely his economic conditions at home, according to his relatives, that he joined police in 2000.
Interestingly, Chopan was a knowledge seeker. There is no wallpapers, no colours, no paints in Chopan’s room. His room is decorated with variety of Urdu, Arabic and Kashmiri books that he used to read.
Before joining the services Ghulam Hassan used to lead prayers in the local Masjid. Due to poverty he dropped out after his matriculation and started earning for the family. But the fact was that Chopan was much interested in reading books and had a kind of thirst for knowledge.
“No doubt he stopped his school education but the love for books remained, he started reading Islamic literature and history that made him a practicing Muslim,” Wali Mohammad said.
Ghulam Hassan’s friend said that he used to save money from his earnings to buy books. “Even after joining the police services his interest with books remained same and he stuffed his room with literature”.
Cousin Fayaz Ahmad blamed police department and said that Chopan’s body was accompanied by a local police man in civvies in an ambulance. There was no escort at all, he added. “He served the department for more than two decades and no one comes to his farewell except a jeep from Panzala Police station.”
Chopan was part of the security detail of the New Court Complex in Pulwama. During wee hours after the night long prayers were over, suspected militants attacked their post.
“At the onset of first light today, militants fired indiscriminately on a guard post at Court in Pulwama in which three jawans sustained injuries,” a spokesman of the police said. “Two of the jawans succumbed to the injuries and attained martyrdom in this incident while the other injured jawan has been shifted to the Hospital for medical treatment.”
SSP Pulwama Muhammad Aslam Chowdhary told reporters that police are trying to identify the terrorists behind the attack.
Apart from Chopan, Ghulam Rasool Lone was also killed in the attack. A resident of Gagal Lolab in Kupwara, Lone is survived by his two sons aged 12 and seven and a 9-year old daughter is nine. Azhar Rasool the younger son of slain constable is a student of 7th class, while Basit Rasool is student of 1st primary. His only daughter Misbah Rasool is studying in 4th standard. His wife is a homemaker.
Ghulam Rasool, according to his family, used to visit home twice a month. “My husband was simply earning his livelihood and taking care of us. Was that his crime? What have the killers achieved now by killing him? Who will feed these orphans now?” his wife Halima Bagum, was quoted saying.
The wreath-laying event for the slain cops was held at District Police Lines in Pulwama earlier on Tuesday. Kashmir Police Chief S P Pani led the function that was attended by officers from both police and civil administration.
The funerals of both the cops were well attended by the residents. The images of the funerals of both of them were widely shared on the social media.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the attack as ‘highly reprehensible’ as it was committed on a night during when the entire Muslim Ummah seeks forgiveness from the God.
“And that too on the night of Shab-e-Qadr. The killers of these police personnel deserve nothing but the eternal flames of hell & that is where they are destined to find themselves. Condolences to the families of the deceased (sic),” NC Vice President Omar Abdullah tweeted. “With the militant organisations doing their best to make sure the ceasefire is a failure they will only have themselves to blame if the security forces come back at them even harder when the ceasefire ends.”
Interestingly, however, the separatists kept quite. This led senior PDP minister Naeem Akhtar to questioned them. “Repeat of shameful lynching of DSP Ayub Pandit on his anniversary. Perpetrators worst enemies of Kashmir, its people, Islam,” Akhter wrote on twitter. “Stupid to think guns looted after killing humans will arm them enough to fight any successful war. Silence? @MirwaizKashmir.”