Ex gratia for 2016 victims: This is what Aripanthan families say

By Ishfaq Reshi  
Aripanthan (Budgam): Four people were shot dead by CRPF troopers on August 16 in Aripanthan village of Budgam district. Three of the families have said they will accept the compensation announced by the government. The fourth family said it won’t “sell the blood of our martyr”.

Here is what the family members told Kashmir Reader:
My brother is a martyr and his blood can’t be sold. We got a call from officials, saying ex gratia has been announced in our favour. Our neighbours and relatives asked us to accept it but we refused. We are proud of our brother’s sacrifice. We won’t accept money from them. If the government were really concerned, it would have ordered an investigation and punished the real culprits who killed our brother mercilessly. He was our only bread winner. His sacrifice won’t go waste. As martyr he would lead us also to heaven hereafter. Government has rubbed salt into our wounds by announcing compensation. We lost our brother, what we shall do with money. They snatched our happiness. We miss him every moment. When we all gather in the evening, the empty spot he left haunts us and we all cry. Money cannot heal our wounds.
(As told by Hafeeza, Afroza and Amir Ahmad, siblings of Javed Ahmad Najar, 16, who was shot dead along with three others)

Please don’t think (by accepting money) we have traded the blood of martyrs. That will not happen. He is a martyr and I am proud of him. Ashraf was the sole bread winner for the family. His martyrdom meant that there is no means of income for the family. (Ashraf’s father pointing towards his wife) Look at her. Who will take care of her? The government forces have broken the family’s back.
(As told by Ghulam Muhammad, father, and Rafeeqa, widow, of Ashraf Wani, 32, who was killed in CRPF firing)

(Pointing towards two kids in the lap of a young woman who is crying in the corner of a room) What will happen to them after I die? I am an old man about to die. My bone marrow has dried up. If something happens to me who will take care of them? They are the reason I accepted the compensation. My son was a hard worker and used to work from dawn to dusk to feed his family and us parents too.
(As told by Mohammad Akbar, father of Manzoor Ahmad Lone, 29, one of the deceased)

Money or job won’t return our brother to us. The government whose troops killed our brother has not done us a favour. He was earning well as he was running a barber shop in the main market of the town. The question of justice will remain. No official has visited our home since the day he was killed. We are in a dilemma whether to accept or refuse. I consulted many people who advised me to take the money. They said it is khoon baha (blood money) and can be accepted.
(As told by Kaunsar Ahmad, brother of Javed Ahmad Sheikh, 17, the fourth victim)

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