Srinagar: The story of my becoming a tailor is also the story of my father as a victim. He had a shop where he would sell soft drinks. I make clothes in this mud plastered room of our home.
It was not a bed of roses but by and large we had a happy life. All that changed on October 16, 2009 when they (the government forces) picked up father from his shop and then launched a search operation in our locality. Father was savagely beaten up in our home almost the entire night. As if beating was not enough, they thrust his head in the refrigerator. The next day, they took him along.
For two months he was detained at the Sopore police station on charges of assisting the militants. I never understood how he would assist militants while sitting at the shop the whole day.
I want to become a doctor. Sister (Tabassum) wants me to become a doctor. I will work hard to realise her dream. She is not only our elder sister but our father as well
—Tehmeena Tariq, who studies in class 11; her sister Tamana is in class 9 and brother Tajamul Tariq is pursuing BTech
The incarceration had changed him so much that he stopped going to the shop after his release. He would be alarmed by the sudden crowing of a crow.
A month later a man in civvies came to our home and said he wanted to talk to our father. We thought he might have come in connection with some business but we were proven wrong soon. Father didn’t return.
In our state, women have undergone enormous tragedies because of the conflict
—PDP president Mehbooba Mufti
A neighbor then informed us that the Special Operations Group (police’s counterinsurgency wing) had picked him up. But when we went to the police station, they flatly said they had no idea of where father was. However, a few days later a policeman came to our home and informed us that father has been booked under the Public Safety Act for assisting militants. He said they have recovered a grenade from him and has been sent to Udhampur jail.
Kashmiri women have suffered more than anybody else during the past decades. The women had to bear the onslaught of Indian oppression. Kashmiri women are most honorable humans on the face of this world. Their resilience is exemplary
—JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik
On 21 June 2010, an encounter took place in our locality in which one foreign militant was martyred. We later learnt that Udhampur jail officials had told father that ‘your family has died in the encounter’. They might have meant it as a joke or might have been trying to torture him. But it turned father mad. He had been so disturbed that they had admitted him to hospital in Udhampur. After killing his soul, they released him in November 2010.
Incidence of crime against women appears to be on rise (in Kashmir). The society has to come forward to fight this disturbing trend
—KU vice-chancellor Prof Khurshid Andrabi
He wouldn’t recognise his own family members. He would run away. And when it was unbearable for him, he would bite bricks.
I left my studies, learnt tailoring and opened a shop in my home to earn for my family and take care of my father. I used to save some money for my father’s medical tests. He died on 30 December 2014, the day the reports of his tests reached home.
We need to reaffirm the pledge to change the mindset of people towards gender discrimination to create a free and fair atmosphere for the women folk so that the social evils in the society are eradicated
—Khurshid Ganai, advisor to guv
I make about Rs 3000 a month. I had dreamt of becoming a teacher. They killed my dreams but I will not let that happen to my younger sisters and brother.
(Tabassum Tariq hails from Mohalla Bhagat of Sopore Town. Her father, Tariq Ahmad Bhat, passed away in December 2014. She narrated her story to Kashmir Reader correspondent Asim Shah)