KULGAM: Sitting in the corner of a room in his one-storey house at Nawpora, Kulgam, Mohammad Yusuf Bhat is happily receiving the people visiting him for condolences over the death of his son, Rasiq Ahmad.
There is no grief on his face and he ensures that every visitor is offered tea and a packet of dates.
“I am very happy not just because my son died a martyr, but also for his being the first martyr of this mass movement in this village. It is a moment of great pride for me,” Bhat told Kashmir Reader.
Ahmad was critically injured on September 5 when the government forces fired at the rally held in Zangalpora village.
He was taken to the District Hospital Anantnag where from the doctors referred him to SKIMS, Soura, on the basis of severity of injuries near his eye.
He lost the battle for life on September 16.
Ahmad, his father said, was “freedom loving” and “an obedient son”.
“He would always lead from the front whenever there was a protest rally in the area. He would even organise protests and I never stopped him from doing so, because I knew his spirit for freedom of Kashmir,” Bhat told Kashmir Reader.
While attending his son in the hospital, Bhat recalled, some pro-India political leaders had approached him and offered him a bargain. “I clearly told them I won’t trade with the blood of my son, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of the nation. I told them my family is ready to give more sacrifices for the cause,” Bhat said.
More than the pain of losing his son, Bhat feels the agony of government forces not allowing the people to offer his funeral prayers. “When we arrived in the village with his body, the forces, including army, had laid a virtual siege in the entire area. They did not allow the people to reach the village for Jinaza. When the people resisted, they used tear-gas shells and pellets to disperse them,” he said.
Neighbours remember Ahmad as a humble and mannered social worker.
“He would always volunteer himself for any religious or social work in the locality. I knew him very closely and I can only tell you that his heart was aching for the nation. He would often tell me if Kashmir would ever get freedom from this slavery,” his neighbour, Ishaq Kulsum, said.
(With inputs from ZIA-Ul-ISLAM)