‘He waits for his father to bring him a tracksuit’
ANANTNAG: As the car and bike rallies pass by Ajaz’s single-storey roadside house in Fohar village here and youth atop vehicles chant “Ajaz tere khoon se inqilab aaye ga (Ajaz your blood will bring a revolution)”, his 3-year-old son, Suhaib, quickly rushes on to the small window.
His grandmother and aunts try to pull him back, but he resists. He gets down from the window only after every participating vehicle is no longer in sight.
“He thinks that his Papa has gone to perform Haj. But every time he hears the mention of his father’s name in the slogans, he hurries to the window to see if he (his father) has returned,” one of Suhaib’s aunts explains, and breaks down.
Ajaz Ahmad Thokar, an auto-rickshaw driver, was the first civilian shot dead by the government forces during the uprising following militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s killing.
He was killed by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers near Akad Park on the Khanabal-Pahalgam road on July 8 when people from various villages were offering funeral prayers-in-absentia for Wani.
Thokar is survived by his mother, wife, two kids (3 years and 3 months old), and an unmarried sister.
A month later, Suhaib is waiting for the tracksuit that he expects his father to bring him on return from Haj.
“From morning till evening, he (Suhaib) keeps on telling everyone that his father will bring him a new tracksuit once he returns home from Haj. How can I tell him that there is going to be no end to his wait for the tracksuit,” Maryam, Suhaib’s grandmother, told Kashmir Reader.
She was surrounded by the other family members, and her words sparked a new spell of mourning in the house.
As Maryam she was busy narrating the family’s loss, another car rally passed by.
On hearing the slogans “Ajaz hum Sharminda hai tere qatil zinda hai (Ajaz we are ashamed because your killers are still free)”, she raised her hands to pray for their safety and Kashmir’s freedom: “Gach khudai karnev panin raech te Azaedi hund haewnew bahar (May Allah protect you and show you the spring of freedom)”.
She said her family didn’t see meet the chief minister, Mehbooba mufti, when she visited Anantnag for ‘condolences’.
“Who was here to meet her?” Maryam said. “What can these (government) do now? My son was my world; nothing can ease the pain of his loss. He was an obedient son.”
Ajaz, according to his neighbour and eyewitness, was shot dead by the forces when he was trying to save his injured neighbour.
“As soon as the people gathered in the yard opposite to the park for funeral prayers-in-absentia, the ITBP men started firing at the people. On seeing a youth from his neighbourhood lying in a pool of blood, Ajaz rushed to the spot to remove him to the hospital. But as soon as he reached near the injured boy, forces fired at him too,” said the man, who didn’t wish to be named.
He said that the forces continued the firing for around five minutes. The wounded couldn’t be taken to the hospital for about 15 minutes, but Ajaz could not be saved, he said.
He was declared brought dead by the doctors, he added.