SHAMSIPORA: A single-storey mud and brick house has women wailing under a canopy set up in the courtyard, and outside it, Mushtaq Ahmed Wani walking with the support of two middle-aged men. The loss of his only son has deprived Mushtaq Wani even of the strength to stand on his legs. He keeps weeping, with everyone around failing to console him.
“Let him cry,” a man tells the two people supporting Wani on their shoulders. “Crying will ease the burden on his heart.”
The two men stop, allowing Wani to weep bitterly. After a while, as Wani remains inconsolable, a few other people come and take him inside the house.
“This is called patre-dag (pain of losing a child),” says a middle-aged neighbour. “The government forces have broken his back. How can we console him?”
Wani’s lone son, Ahsan Mushtaq, was killed during clashes near an encounter site in Arwani village of Anantnag on Friday. The 24-hour encounter ended with the killing of three LeT militants, including commander Junaid Matoo.
Since the killing of his son, Wani, according to neighbours and relatives, refuses to come to terms with life. “Since Friday afternoon, when he heard about the killing of his son, he has not eaten anything. He only wants us to take him to the grave of his son. But where should we take him when his condition is getting worse with every passing movement,” said Wani’s neighbour.
Ahsan was a Class 8 student at the Hira public school in Batengoo, owned by his uncle Javed Ahmad Wani.
“He was a brilliant student at the school. Apart from his studies, he would go to a local darsa-gah to memorise the Quran. He had memorised almost four chapters,” his uncle Javed told Kashmir Reader.
Neighbours described Ahsan as a humble and shy boy. “I am short of words to describe how humble and shy he was. He had led all the Fajar and Taraweeh prayers since the beginning of Ramadan in our local mosque,” Javed said.
Before he went to the encounter site, Ahsan had offered Friday congregational prayers at the Jamia Masjid in his village.
“When we learnt about the killing of three militants in an encounter, we closed the school and allowed the students to go home. Ahsan returned from school and told his mother that he was going out for Friday prayers. A couple of hours later, we heard the news of his killing,” Javed said.
Family members of Ahsan said that some eyewitnesses told them that the government forces had fired pellets into his arm, before catching and beating him. “He had a deep pellet wound near his armpit and the wound was bleeding continuously,” his neighbour said.