Sopore: On his first death anniversary, people remembered Sheikh Altaffur Rahman, a 45-year-old man who was killed by unidentified gunmen a few metres away from his home on June 9, 2015, as “an ideologue” and “a simple man by nature”.
A group of pro-freedom people, including with his relatives, paid tributes to Rahman at the martyrs’ graveyard of Sopore, where he lies buried.
Rahman was one among the six people killed mysteriously in Sopore the last summer.
He was a pharmacist in Sub-District Hospital Sopore and an activist of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a component of Hurriyat Conference (G) conglomerate led by Syed Ali Geelani.
In 1988, Rahman was arrested for the first time, which was followed by several subsequent detentions. He ended up serving seven years in jail under four Public Safety Acts.
“He was arrested a few times by Cargo Camp of Srinagar and was interrogated so much that his back needed surgery. The doctors removed nine pieces of broken bones from his back and showed it to us. Afterwards, he was not able to walk without a stick,” Rahman’s father, Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf, told Kashmir Reader.
Two days before he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while returning from home after his night duty, he had been detained by the local army camp, Yousuf said, adding they tortured him.
“He was released the next day of his detention. He was in pain because of the torture, but he still went to his duty. I insisted that he should take rest, but he didn’t listen to me. The next morning, he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen,” he said.
“When the news about his death spread, I rushed to the Sopore hospital. But it was too late, as my son was already lying dead. The gunmen had shot him six times in his chest.
“It has been a very tough time for us. Personally, I am emotionally exhausted. Losing him in such a way was traumatic for the family, but I seek comfort in his two daughters and a son. His kids are the reason for us to continue living.”
According to his father, helping poor people was Rahman’s habit.
“After his death, so many people came to us saying that our son was their only hope,” he said.
Following his death, pro-freedom parties blamed the Indian agencies for his and the other mysterious killings. They quoted the Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks made last year—that they will “neutralise terrorists with terrorists”—as suggestive evidence.
However, the police blamed a faction of Hizbul Mujahideen, with policemen claiming they identified the killers.