SRINAGAR: A family’s fight for compensation for a member who was killed in a bomb blast in 1985 has come to a naught so far because the government pays compensation to such ‘innocent’ victims only if they have died after 1990 when the armed insurgency against India started.
Ovais Shah, a 22-year-old mechanic, who lived in Latter Masjid (Safa Kadal), was killed in the blast on a theater at Exhibition Grounds (Kashmir Haat) on October 13, 1985.
Ovais’s brother Mushtaq Ahamd said the victim was accompanied by three of his friends, two of whom were also injured in the blast.
“Militancy related incidents were unknown and no armed insurgency was visible. The only political conflict was the resentment against Ghulam Mohammad Shah who had become the chief minister after toppling Farooq Abdullah’s government,” Mushtaq said.
The family later learnt that the target of the bomb was a dance hall at Radha Theater. The bomb had ricocheted off an electric pole and hit Ovais in the head.
“Our neighbors told us that Ovais was injured in the commotion that followed the blast. We went to the SMHS hospital first where doctors told us that he has been shifted to SKIMS Soura,” Mushtaq added.
After battling for his life through the night, Ovais passed away in the morning.
Mushtaq said the Indian media initially blamed Ovais for the attack, but the police later said it was the handiwork of People’s League, Jamiat-e-Tolba and Mahaz-e-Islami. In fact, a few family members and many of Ovais’s friends, including the ones who were injured, had been interrogated by the police.
What absolved Ovais from the suspicion that he was the attacker was the nature of injuries—he had no wounds on the front side of his body.
“Many hearings were held at Central Jail for many years and I attended a few,” he said.
“Our family tried to seek compensation and since 1985 my father, who passed away few years ago, fought for it. The case is still in court.”