A day after police claimed to have killed a “militant” who turned out to be an auto driver from South Kashmir, Dar house in Shopian’s Chatripora village is under intense mourning. The bloodletting of young Muzamil Dar has let loose a stream of tears in his native village ahead of Eid. The killing has almost turned his mother, sister and wife mad, crying at the top of their voices. Amid shrieks, Dar’s one-year-old daughter, Hadiya, is oblivious of her orphan fate.
But before lamentations could have gripped the family, the 22-year-old Muzamil was told by his father on Monday to visit Pulwama to bring home his sister, Khushboo, studying in a local seminary there. He left home on his bike and reached Pulwama’s Shith village by 9:30 in the morning.
“He met my Ustaad, Shameem sahib,” says the tearful sister, “asked his permission before talking me home for celebrating EID.” By 10:20 am, the siblings were back in Shopian and later had a lunch together.
Soon after lunch, Muzamil was told by his mother Gulshan to help out his father Habeeb Ullah Dar and brother Tauseef, cleaning and drying walnuts at the village camping site.
But Muzamil didn’t show up at the farm. Some village boys had spotted him on the main road around 2 pm, when he rang up his brother, Touseef, “I am going to Hospital (Shopian) for treating my chest infection.”
Before dropping the call, recalls Tauseef, “I told him to recharge my number.” As Tauseef didn’t receive any recharge, he dialled Muzamil’s cell number late Monday evening and found it switched off, repeatedly. “He didn’t return home Monday night to our woes,” his brother says.
By the next dawn, Muzamil’s family was getting restive. Till noon, they tried his number endlessly and found it switched off. Without making much of his son’s absence, Habeeb Ullah Dar was back to his routine.
It was then a village Sarpanch came looking for him at the walnut camping site. “The SHO is asking for you,” the Sarpanch told the father.
As Dar walked past the village Tuesday afternoon, he saw villagers keeping their vehicles ready near Shopian Police Station. The father didn’t suspect the silence of the villagers and straightaway stepped inside the police station. Inside, a DSP and an SHO Farooz was waiting for him.
“DSP enquired about Muzamil,” says Habeeb Ullah, holding back his tears. “I told him that he is missing from last 24 hours. Then he showed Muzamil’s photo and asked me, ‘Is this your son?’ ”
The father at once recognised the dead man on the photo. It was his son – Muzamil. “All of a sudden,” he says, “Everything went black before my eyes.”
Later, the father was sent back home from the police station with a dead body of his son, bored with bullet wounds. “My son was an auto driver,” he says. “He was a simple person and had nothing to do with any party or group. I fail to understand, why they murdered my son?”