Khrew: The Wednesday night attack by the army on Shar-e-Shali village in Khrew area of Pampore was preceded by the army announcing it from loudspeakers. An old man who lives next to the main road in Shar-e-Shali said that the army was intent on targeting youths of the area, for which it used loudspeakers to call youth out to the village square. Or the army would come get them in their homes, the soldiers threatened from the loudspeakers.
A few minutes after the announcement, the army soldiers fanned through the village. Locals said that the army’s coming in the night was a reaction to protests that had taken place during the day in which some youth had hurled stones at army vehicles.
Some thought that it was a search operation for militants hiding in the village.
Liyakat Ahmad Wani, who lives next to the main road, said, “We had no idea what was happening. I and my family left the house immediately after we heard that the army soldiers were entering houses. We didn’t know why.”
Liyakat’s house was ransacked by the army, all the rooms of the house bearing signs of this vandalism. Liyakat said that the soldiers took away mobile phones and cash from his closet.
Further inside the village, the mosque stood damaged, as were all houses and cars.
One widow living with her three teenage daughters said that the soldiers entered her home at 10:45 pm and damaged all her belongings. “They abused me and asked where my sons were. They saw my three daughters and I feared they might molest them. I hid my daughters away. As they left, they told me to not scream, or else they would shoot me dead.”
By this time, the army had assembled more than 50 youths on the streets by dragging them out of their homes.
At 10:50 pm they raided the house of Shabir Ahmad Mangoo. His sister, Masrat, said that Shabir took his dinner at 10pm with his family members and spent some time with his 15-month-old son Nuwaib Mohammad, while his wife Yasmeena was washing the dishes. “He then habitually went to his room to read,” she said.
Four army men breached the wall of their house, entered the house by breaking down the door, and dragged out Shabir from his room after beating him. Masrat said that she and Yasmeena would have been molested had they not taken shelter in a neighbour’s house.
Shabir and his brother were put amid the other youths on the streets. All of them were brutally beaten for three hours. At 2:30 am some were sent to police station Pampore and the others to the 50 RR army camp a few kilometres from the village.
In the morning, Shabir was brought dead to the hospital in Pampore. The others were admitted to different hospitals for treatment.
One of the closest friends of Shabir gave his English-teacher friend a literary tribute: “He was born like a thought and he died like a sigh and he disappeared like a shadow.”