On last Monday, in South Kashmir the pall of gloom descended into Qazigund and Kulgam areas when they received five coffins. The five victims were among the seven persons including five policemen and two security guards of Jammu and Kashmir bank escorting a cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank who were killed at Ponima village of Kulgam district on May 1 (Monday) afternoon. All of them were shot dead after their weapons were snatched by the militants who later resorted to indiscriminate firing. The Hizbul Mujahidin-local militant outfit later claimed responsibility for the killing of five policemen only and blamed the Paramilitary forces for killing two Bank security guards. The two more victims are constable Ishfaq Ahmad Hajam of Batpora, Srinagar and Constable Muhammad Qasim S/o Bohu Khan of Trehgam, Kupwara.
As all the victims were lowered to their graves after their families received the coffins, back home The Legitimate met the families of victims and tries to find out the devastating impact on their families.
Bashir Ahmad Dar,
Resident of Qazigund
Desg. Assistant Sub inspector (JKP)
In the next two months, the family of Bashir Ahmad Dar would have been celebrating two events. The mood of family was already set and the preparations were almost done. But before any such festivity, the doom struck the family on Monday evening when an ambulance stopped at their residence to handover the coffin of Dar.
Next week, Dar was to be promoted as Sub Inspector in Jammu and Kashmir police and in June he would have been retired from the services.
“We were all prepared to celebrate his promotion and offer him a grand reception at home by the end of May on his dignified retirement,” says Rayees Ahmad Dar, a shopkeeper son.
“But it was tragic to receive him in coffin”. In September out of his lifelong earnings, Dar had planned a wedding for his 25 year old beloved daughter Jasfida.
His wife, Shareefa who was first to see the dead body of her husband is still in shock.
At 1 pm on the fateful day, Dar had called Shareefa to district hospital Kulgam for medical check up.
“I called him over his phone at 1 pm and he told me that he will be shortly reaching hospital as they are returning from the duty,” recalls Shareefa her last conversation with Dar.
“In fact he wanted me to stay at his official residence on that day and we had planned to buy fish for dinner. I kept waiting at the hospital and suddenly I found the ambulance arriving in emergency section amid chaos,” she says.
Shareefa too rushed to the spot only to see the first dead body of her husband. The magnitude of shock was so high that she fell unconscious and hardly knew about the funeral process of her husband.
Out of his salary, Dar in addition of his four member family, was also feeding the three member family of his brother who died in road accident last year.
The calendar of festivities at Dar’s residence turned into melancholy. The hopes of the family are shattered. Life has become meaningless.
Muzaffer Ahmad Bhat
Desg. Constable (JKP)
Resident of YK Pora
The speechless, crestfallen 25 year old Gowhar Jan is sitting in the corner of her room. Her hands still possess the colour of Heena she applied six months back on her wedding. The fingers of her both hands have multiple rings, few of them of gold-glittering. And after every few minutes the women of her vicinity are visiting her. Jan is no more celebrating post wedding festivity; however, she is receiving mourners on her husband’s death.
Muzaffer Ahmad Bhat of Nehama Kulgam of south Kashmir who married Gowhar Jan 6 months ago was one among the seven unfortunate men who was killed in an ambush of militants. The death of Bhat has not only devastated the life of Jan, however, the entire family relying financially and socially on Bhat has got shattered.
After a trial of one and a half year, Bhat was appointed as police constable in Jammu and Kashmir Police after his father Ghulam Mohammad Bhat died due to throat cancer.
The family of Bhat observed the third death anniversary of Ghulam Mohammad with the death of his son Muzaffer. Ghulam Mohammad had died on April 1 in 2014 and this year when the family was planning to observe his third death anniversary, they received the dead body of Muzaffer. The young Muzaffer who was shouldering the entire responsibilities of family has left behind 2 unmarried sisters Shabnum and Rufaida and a younger brother Asif. As the rush of people continues to the residence of Dar to mourn his death, the last call Jan received from Muzaffer is haunting him.
“They have nobody to take care. Even they have no one to receive the mourners,” a sobbing Mohammad Yousef, an uncle of Bhat says while receiving the mourners.
Farooq Ahmad Bhat
Resident of Lakdipora
10 year old Noaman has made two attempts since morning to jump from the window. His uncle is consistently holding his hand to avoid any such attempt by the young boy who seems depressed and aggressive. More than this class 4th student no one can understand the tragedy that has befallen his family.
Noaman’s family is one among the seven unfortunate families which lost their bread earners in Pombai village attack. His father, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, constable, in Jammu and Kashmir police of Nehama, Kulgam was also escorting the cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank when it came under severe militant attack.
“I want to die and live with Abu in his grave,” cries Noaman.
Suddenly he picks up the android phone and asks his uncle to dial the number of his father to talk. “Can’t he pick the phone in grave,” he shouts as his uncle Tariq Ahmad who is Rehber –e Taleem teacher refuses to make a phone on a number Farooq was possessing. The emotional outburst of Noaman after every few minutes makes every visitor cry. His two elder sisters Madiha 9th class and Seerat 7th class students are glued to their mother who is shell-shocked in the corner of another room receiving women mourners. She is sitting like a statue among women mourners and refuses to talk to anyone about the unfortunate incident in which she lost her husband.
The tragic death of Farooq has shattered the hopes of his family. He left his old parents, younger brother, and his own four member family behind. While his one brother is already separated after he got married, Farooq was feeding around seven members at home. The traditional mud house of Bhat family is in shambles. Its windows and doors can hardly be locked without using strings or pieces of rope.
“I don’t know why he left us behind. Who will take care of us? It was better if we all had died in the attack,” his 70 year old father is in shrieks.
As the wife of Farooq is wailing while beating her chest over the death of her husband, the young two daughters have no tears anymore to shed. They are dumbstruck. The innocent faces have no simile and stare at every new visitor who comes there for mourning. They make frequent rounds of the place where their father was taken last time for the bath before funeral.
“Abu was here put in coffin and so many people took him to the graveyard on their shoulders,” the sisters with sobbing eyes are showing the place to one of their relative.
Desg. Constable (JKP)
Resident of Batpora, Srinagar
When the news about the tragic death of 24 year old Ishfaq Ahmad reached to his home in Zakura-Batpora of Srinagar on Monday evening, his family got shattered and refused to accept it.
His fifty five year old father- Abdul Ahad Hajam is shell-shocked and sitting in the room of his under construction house receiving mourners. The entire Mohalla is in mourning over the death of his young son. While there is a grim silence among the mourning men out of shock, the women folk are beating chest and wailing over the tragedy that has befallen the Hajam family.
Ishfaq had left Rs 1500 at home for the medicines of his father three days ago he left for the duty. Today his father is showing the same currency notes to every person visiting the family for mourning.
“This is the money he left for me before he went for his duty on Sunday. I am suffering with multiple health complications and he was taking care of me,” Hajam says while showing the two denomination notes of Rs 500 and five Rs 100 notes Ishtiyaq left for him. He holds this money to his chest tight and cries.
His mother-50 year old Sara is unconscious ever since she received the coffin of her young son at home. She has no words, no tears but a crestfallen on outside veranda where she saw him last time before Ishfaq left for job on Sunday.
Visibly, Tawseef, the younger brother of Ishfaq is frustrated and runs here and there among the mourners. “I have lost my guardian, my support and my friend. He was supporting my studies and fulfilling the other requirements of day to day life,” he cries. “Now who will take care of me and my family?”
Out of abject poverty, Ishfaq the middle son of Hajam family joined police department four years back after his father who is stitching shawls developed certain health complications and was unable to meet the ends of family.
Ishfaq travelled to Kulgam in 2012 where he was selected in a recruitment rally of Director General as constable.
As the pall of gloom is descending the Hajam Mohalla, the death of Ishtiyaq has left his poor family shattered emotionally as well as financially.
“It is very tragic to see any family losing the lone bread winner,” says Abdul Majeed, his neighbour while pointing towards the appalling economic conditions of family.
Muzaffer Ahmad Laway
Desg. Bank Guard
Residence Ladgoo, Kulgam
As you descend into the vicinity of Laway Mohalla in Ladgoo-DH Pora, you will come across the people with anxious eyes and the writ on their faces. Dwelling deep inside the thin lane, you will hear wailing women and sobbing man. They are mourning the death of 33 year old Muzaffer. He was among the seven victims of militant attack in Ponigam village in Kulgam. The shattered family has lost everything with the death of Muzaffer. In this family there is no more any male member.
Sahil and Madiha, his two young kids aged 5 and 2 are too young to understand the tragedy of losing their father.
“I don’t know how to love the life now. We have nobody to take care. How will I feed these kids,” Muzaffer’s wife wails. Muzaffer has lost both his parents long back and he was the only surviving male member in his family, meeting the two ends of family with meagre salary of Rs 6000.
Even the three rooms under construction modest house have no furnishing for mourners to sit.
“I really don’t know what this family will do now after the death of lone bread earner. Only God can help them,” sighs their neighbour, Ghulam Hassan who receive the mourners.