Srinagar: On that day I was not throwing stones at forces and have not, to this day, but from now onwards I will definitely throw stones at them. I have now understood what it means to live in an occupation. They (forces) can kill or maim anybody without being questioned.”
The words are spoken in a harsh tone. Manzoor Ahmed Khan, 19 years old, is an angry young man. And he has reason to be angry. On August 3, Manzoor went to open his shop in the main market at Awaroo, in Mirmuqam area of Kupwara district. “It was about 10am. There was a standoff between people and police. The police suddenly started beating women. Then one policeman aimed his gun towards me and fired a shell, which hit my right arm.”
After this, Manzoor said, he ran towards sub-district hospital Awaroo. There his arm was bandaged and he was referred to district hospital Kupwara. From there he was referred to SKIMS Soura, where his right arm was operated on.
While Manzoor narrates the ordeal, his friend gives him a pill and a glass of water. He gulps it down and continues, “I will tell you something. My father Nawab Khan is a retired Fauji (army man) from JAKLI regiment. My brother Mohammad Iqbal Khan is also a serving Fauji, and another brother, Shabbir Khan, is in the police.”
Manzoor takes a breath. He continues, “This doesn’t mean we are siding with the occupation. They are paying my family members for their work, not for sitting idle. But if it is necessary to resign from the army and police to end this zulm (atrocity), I will convince my family members to do that.”
“This is what they (forces) have done to me. The hand will heal,Inshallah, and they (forces) will leave,” Manzoor says to his friend, the rage evident on his face.
“What was my fault? Is it a sin to walk down the road to go see if the shop is safe or not?” Manzoor questions.
Manzoor, who all the while was talking without showing any signs of pain, suddenly withers in pain. He sighs and then says, “It is now or never, the time to get our freedom.”
When the SHO of the area was contacted, he feigned ignorance of the incident, saying, “I don’t know anything about it. In law and order situations, various forces are involved.”
The DSP of the area said, “No such incident has happened; otherwise I would have known of it. There are many forces involved in law and order situations, but everything is put on our head.”