Khrew: “He was my hero, he was my friend, he was my leader,” cried Yasmeena, wife of the slain Shabir Ahmad Mangoo at her residence in Shar-e-Shali in Khrew. “He was just reading. They took him away from his room… and slaughtered him. He was innocent. He never killed an insect,” the distraught Yasmeena said.
Shabir’s father Wali Mohammad was sitting on the porch of his small house surrounded by relatives and neighbours, head cupped in his hands. “My son has gone now. Will writing about him bring him back?” he asked.
Nuwaib Mohammad, fifteen-month-old baby of Shabir, called out for his father frequently. ‘Where is father?’ he kept asking people.
Shabir Ahmad Mangoo, 30 years old, was a lecturer of English who had a contractual job at Srinagar’s Amar Singh College. He was brought dead in the morning from Pampore hospital after he and others were taken away by soldiers of army’s 50RR in the night. Block Medical Officer of Pampore said that Shabir was brought dead at 5:30 in the morning and there were no external injuries or signs of bullet injury in his body. She further said that an autopsy had been carried out and forensic reports were yet to come.
The roads leading to Shar-e-Shali are deserted and the sense of mourning fills the air. There are visible signs of damage to homes: shattered windowpanes and doors. Residents said that army soldiers arrived at the village at 10:30pm on Wednesday night.
Shabir’s friend described him as a great man who minded his own business. His sister Masrat said, “After dinner, he would go to his room and read till 1 am. His day would start with reading and end with reading. He never went out of his house during the unrest. He spent most of his time with his son.”
Shabir was the lone bread earner. His father, a farmer, said he had spent all his savings to educate his son.
Shabir completed his MPhil in English five years ago. He was teaching English in different colleges since 2009. He worked for two years in Pampore Degree College and was working on a contract as lecturer at Amar Singh College. However, principal of the college Mohammad Aslam said he did not know if Shabir was working at the college at this point.
Zahoor Ahmad, younger brother of Shabir, described the raid by the army: “At 10:30 pm, four army men climbed the wall of our house and entered our home forcibly, breaking the door of the room where my brother was reading. They started beating him. I went inside and threw my body upon him to save him. They took me and my brother onto the road where some 50 youths were already huddled. They started beating all of us up with sticks, spades and gun butts. We were later taken to the army camp. I don’t know what happened to my brother during that night.”
Zahoor Ahmad is admitted at Srinagar’s Bone and Joint Hospital with fracture in both arms. His back is also seriously injured. Another injured admitted here is Aijaz Hussain Wani. He, too, was beaten by the army.
Masrat, sister of Shabir, further said that when army men entered their house, she started shouting. “They abused me and started to molest me. I ran away from my home and went to neighbours. I don’t know what they did with my two brothers.”
Another eyewitness Shamima said that army men entered her home and started smashing everything. “I have three daughters and I am a widow. There were no men at my home. I somehow managed to refuge my daughters from them. Otherwise they might have molested them. When they left, they told me don’t scream or they will kill me,” she said.
People of Shar-e-Shali said that on Wednesday afternoon the army came and asked the elders to come with them to the army camp for conversation. “They refused to go. Youths started to pelt the army men with stones. They didn’t open fire and they left. The night raid by them was to teach us a lesson,” said the residents.
Liyakat Ahmad, a resident, said that before they left, the army men took away mobile phones, cash and other household things with them.