Shocked by the burning alive of his friend by goons in Jammu, Yawar Mushtaq had only started to recover when government troops killed him as ruthlessly
ANANTNAG: When a youth from Batengoo, Zahid Rasool, was set ablaze by goons in Udhampur district of Jammu in October last year, his close friend Yawar Mushtaq had shouldered his coffin and stayed at the graveyard till his burial was finished. Yawar was so shocked by the brutal murder of his friend that it took him several months to come to terms with life again. But little did he know that his own burial would take place at the same graveyard in less than a year after his friend’s.
Yawar Mushtaq was fired with a volley of pellets by government forces on September 10, when they carrying out a raid on the village.
“Zahid’s killing had badly affected Yawar’s psyche. After that incident he hardly talked to anyone, even in the family and the neighborhood, for several months. He was slowly coming to terms with life again and had become busy with his private job, so we feel all the more hurt that his life was snatched away,” said Yawar’s elder brother Dawood Ahmad Dar.
The son of a vendor, Yawar had bid goodbye to studies after Class 10 to support his family. “Because of the poor financial condition of his family he started working at a private company (Mahindra ) at a pay of Rs 5,000 per month. The officials at the company considered him as a witty and trustworthy employee. He would do any job assigned to him very sincerely,” said Dawood, who is studying in the first year of graduation in a private capacity.
Yawar’s two other siblings, including a sister, are also students. His father Mushtaq Ahmad runs a makeshift tea stall at the Sumo taxi stand, Dak Bungalow.
Yawar is remembered by neighbours and friends as a talkative, humourous and playful person.
“Yawar was a unique boy in the entire village. He would play and joke with everyone. That is why everyone in the village is in a state of mourning and shock. The locality has lost its darling,” said a bearded young man sitting next to Yawar’s brother.
Dawood described his brother as hardworking and promising. “After he got a job in Mahindra he kept telling us that he would rest only after earning enough money to buy a Rexton, his favorite car. Everyone in our family knew that he can do it,” Dawood said.
Yawar’s family and people who witnessed his killing described it as a “cold blood murder”.
“We were playing carom in the premises of our house. Suddenly, we saw people running for safety. (Government) Forces had entered the village from the national highway side. We, too, ran towards nearby Showl village,” Dawood said.
When they returned home, Dawood said, Yawar was caught by government troops who were hiding behind a tin gate. Then they fired a volley of pellets into him.
A youth, Yasir, who witnessed the killing said that after being informed that the forces had left the village, most of the people started returning home. “We were four boys returning towards the village. When we reached a roadside house that had a tin fence and a tin gate, men in uniform who were hiding inside suddenly came out and one of them aimed his gun at Yawar and fired. We ran back and watched from a distance,” he said.
Yasir said that Yawar lay bleeding on the road. The boys mustered some courage and went to lift him. “As soon as we carried him a few meters, the forces personnel again came running and began abusing us. Due to fear we dropped the body at a bridge and ran for safety again. One of the boys who did not run away was mercilessly beaten. We helplessly watched him bleed, with the men in uniform standing around him. Then a girl from a nearby house came out crying and put herself on the body of Yawar,” Yasir said.
“Though the men beat the girl as well, she resisted and repeatedly shouted at them to shoot her, too,” Yasir said.
“Aap ne mere bhai ko maara hai, ab mujhe bhi maaro (You have killed my brother, now kill me too),” Yasir quoted the girl as repeatedly telling the men.
It was due to the resistance of the girl that the men left the spot.
(With inputs from ZIA-UL-HAQ)