Police say will complete the investigation soon
Srinagar: On the morning of May 7, when Mehraj-ud-din Mir, a 65-year-old retired engineer from Zoonimar area of Soura, left his house to look for a labourer nearby for the maintenance of his home garden, little did his family know that his dead body would return to them, brutally attacked.
As per the bereaved relatives, a “notorious” family that lives nearby had been threatening to kill Mir after he asked them to return money they owed him and had warned Mir’s family to stay silent.
“Mir used to have minor business relations with the accused family,” Mir’s nephew Ashiq Ahmad told Kashmir Reader. “He parted ways with them four years ago, when he came to know they (the accused) were involved in illegal activities like trading and smuggling banned herbs. At that time, the accused family owed Mir some Rs 65 lakh, and when he asked them to repay the same, they refused.”
He said that since then, Mir’s family had been living under continuous threats from the three accused – Altaf Ahmad Rather, Ishfaq Ahmad Rather (both in their 30s) and their father, Ghulam Rasool Rather. A case has been registered at police station Soura, and all of them have been arrested. Altaf Ahmad, the main accused, has been booked under section 302 (murder) and the remaining two under section 120b of the Ranbir Penal Code.
Mir’s relatives say that the accused also share a plot of land measuring seven-and-a-half kanals in Ganderbal district where Ghulam Rasool – the head of the accused family – had forcefully occupied the land without any consent from Mir’s family and had even started some construction on it.
“Mir approached court against this act, and it gave a judgement in Mir’s favour. The court also ordered that all constructions on the land be dismantled. All of this happened on Saturday, the day before Mir was murdered,” the relatives said.
Insecurity in the Mir family has reached such levels that Mir had installed CCTV cameras all around his house. “He knew that death was following him and he might be killed anytime soon. His installed cameras turned out to be very helpful as we managed to track the eyewitness, the same labourer whom Mir had brought for the maintenance of the garden,” his nephew said.
After being attacked brutally just a few meters from his house, Mir was taken to nearby Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where he succumbed to critical injuries. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” says the family who also say that they have not as yet been given any FIR copy.
“It’s a notorious family and can get up to anything. We want speedy investigation and punishment to the culprits so that there remains no chance for them to hurt or frighten us in any other way,” the family said.
While the station house officer confirmed to Kashmir Reader that a case had been registered, declined to comment further on the issue, stating that he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Superintendent of police, Hazratbal, Naveed Peerzada told Kashmir Reader that all the accused have been arrested and that the police would soon finish the investigation.
When asked why the police was not making public the developments regarding the case, Peerzada said that they have apprehensions that revealing the names of the accused into the public domain might aggravate the situation. “The case is clear, and we have strong proofs and witnesses, but we are just waiting for the proper time as we have apprehensions that the situation might take an ugly turn,” he said.