Khrew: The family of slain lecturer Shabir Ahmad Mangoo of village Shar, Khrew area of Pulwama district, lynched by army soldiers last year during the intervening night of August 17-18, has vowed to keep up the resolve to fight for justice.
Despite having little hope of seeing punishment to the army men, the family has rejected several offers from the army to withdraw their FIR (first information report).
The family allege that police have failed to make any progress on the probe despite urged to do so by none other than Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“It has been nearly a year since my brother, who was the lone hope for all of us, was killed by the army. The investigations are yet to take place to punish the army men responsible,” said a family member of the slain lecturer.
Family members recounted how at 10:20pm on August 17 last year, nearly 200 army soldiers started breaking down their gate with stones. The family said that two soldiers jumped over the wall and opened the gate from inside.
“Soon after stepping inside, the army men started ransacking our house. First they damaged a parked car and then doors, windows and other belongings inside our home.”
According to the family, the army men first dragged Zahoor Ahmad Mangoo, brother of the slain lecturer, out of the house and beat him. They then turned upon Shabir, who had been studying in his room at the time the army men attacked.
Masarat Wali, Shabir’s sister, told Kashmir Reader that her brother pleaded before the army men that he was not a stone-pelter but a lecturer who teaches students.
“Without listening to him, the army men kept on beating both my brothers with bamboo sticks, iron rods and other things they had in their hands,” she said.
According to the family, the army had picked up about 60 youth, including Shabir and Zahoor, from the village that night. All the detainees were released next day in the early morning, soon after Shabir’s death.
“The army threw his body into a drain near our village after he succumbed to his grave injuries at 3am. We were informed in the morning by one of our relatives that he was in a serious condition, but in no time an ambulance came to our house, carrying his body,” said Masarat.
“Neither was he taking part in protests nor in stone-pelting. He was working as a contractual lecturer and was teaching English. He was giving tuition without charging any fee from the students. Why then did the army kill him, that too without any provocation from our side?” Masarat asked.
She said the loss of her brother had shattered the entire family. “All of us in the family have lost hope of a happy life,” she grieved.
“The killing of my brother has also destroyed the life of his wife, who was married to him only two-and-a-half years before his killing,” she said.
The family said that Zahoor cannot live a normal life as his left arm had been broken on a previous occasion by the army. “Doctors had operated on him and his arm was still fractured when the army men attacked that night. His survival is a miracle as he was ruthlessly beaten that night,” said Masarat.
The family members said they do not need any compensation but want justice. “We had registered an FIR against the Commanding Officer of 50 Rashtriya Rifles, but no action has been taken against him so far,” Masarat said.
She said that the CM’s probe announcement has remained limited to words.
The army approached the family with an offer of blood money and also education for the child of the slain lecturer in any reputable school, she said. “The army asked us to withdraw the FIR against the CO and to take as much money as we wanted, but we rejected all their offers as our compensation will only be to see the CO, on whose behest the army men beat my brother to death, serve his due punishment,” said Masarat.
She said that police only tell the family that they would be called on the date of hearing of the case in the court. “The police are hand in glove with the army and want to save the killers. So does the CM, Mehbooba Mufti, who dances on the army’s tunes,” Masarat said.
“How will she get the army officer punished? She will lose her chair for doing that,” she said.
Masarat admitted that there was not much hope of getting justice. “But we will try our best and fight this case till the end,” she said.