Dachigam, Bandipora: The wails grow louder with every passing minute as the people from curfew-bound areas start to pour in, some in load carriers and others through rice fields in the small tent erected at the neighborhood of Mustafa. Inside the tent her mother is motionless with tears rolling down her eyes and the few words she speaks, is recalling Mustafa telling her each morning, “Mother I don’t know whether I will return home as sooner or later I will be called a martyr”. Mustafa was aware of that government forces are searching him everywhere to take him down. Ahmad (name changed), his friend and colleague, said that “Mustafa told me that after Eid we will go underground (hide) as police was looking for us. Now see God himself took him underground”.
Eighteen-year-old Mustafa “with a face of child with unevenly grown stubble was loved by all as he would always try to crack jokes to make people laugh but never ever he would cry even if people tried their every bit,” his cousin Firdous shared, adding that “Mustafa would pray five times a day and being the youngest he was the beloved of his family and all villagers”.
Mustafa a Class 12 student, was reading medical science at NM Higher Secondary School Bandipora. His family said that he was very hard working and did every work and even helped his father who is a mason by profession. The single-storey house they were building is incomplete and Mustafa helped his father as a labourer in constructing that.
The love for freedom ran deep in his heart for “he would often listen to Taranas and freedom songs on his phone,” Mustafa’s sister Rahi, 23, said to Kashmir Reader. “When we scolded him his reply would make us silent: that God will ask me on the Day of Judgment about what you did for the cause of freedom when your brothers and sisters were getting killed.”
Mustafa would often return home late, his mother and sister said, but he never showed what terrific pain he was going through since the uprising erupted after Burhan Wani’s killing. “He would come home and wash his body with salt water; neighbours would tell us he has survived a great deal,” Mustafa’s elder sister Rahi shared, adding as her teary voice breaks, “When he went to bed, he would only wear nickers so in his sleep I would silently check his injuries and apply medicines on them.”
For Mustafa, Eid was just another day of mourning, but what kept him willing was the sacrifice of an animal on Eid. “On the evening the day before Eid, he bathed and also the animal. He also prepared Hina to dye the animal’s toes on Eid, but before he could do that God took him from us,” Firdous said.
Amina, Mustafa’s mother, said that “He had sweet tea in the morning and took the prayer mate with him to offer Eid-Prayers at Eidgah. His brother and father also went along”.
The authorities had imposed strict curfew around Plan area in the main town to thwart public moment towards Eidgah. But people were defiant and since early morning they in hundreds began marching towards Eidgah peacefully. But as soon as they reached near Eaglets Public School in Plans ward no 6, the police intercepted them and resorted to massive shelling on them.
The people scattered and ran into lanes and by-lanes to avoid the police rage. The youth started to throw stones back at the forces. A fellow stone pelter said that “when a tear gas shell was aimed at me he threw me aside and took it on his body.” Another youth on seeing his worsening condition took him to a house close by and locked the door. He was given water and told to rest.
“But he didn’t. He asked them for a white cloth and when asked why you want that, he replied that today I will offer Eid-Prayers at Eidgah or get martyred,” Amina, Mustafa’s mother, said. When he went out again the police intensified the pellet and smoke shell firing, Amina said.
Mustafa had already been worn out and remained unmoved as everything in the lane went dark, witnesses said. “The SSP’s Bolero vehicle halted on the lanes exit point and the tear gas shells were fired from point blank range towards Mustafa, which hit him in the head making him unconscious,” the witnesses living around the area said. They added that when the police realised what they had done to Mustafa, they fired more tear gas shells towards him and after five minute left the spot.
Witnesses said that Mustafa had vomited the sweet tea and cake which he had taken in the morning and his skull was torn apart, his brains spilled out on the street, which were collected into a piece of cloth by people.
The people put his body on a hand-cart and ferried it towards the hospital but on the way he died.
His friends described him as a “stone pelter who would lead from the front and his only defense against anything from forces were his slippers which he would wear in his hands during clashes.”
His father said that filing an FIR was an insult to his son’s martyrdom. “What will the government do if we file an FIR? Has anything in Kashmir got resolved by FIRs?” he asked, adding that “justice will be made by God in hereafter.”
Mustafa was the youngest of his siblings. He is survived by two sisters, a brother and his parents.