Srinagar: When the dusk had set in on January 12, a man carrying a letter of Hizbul Mujahideen knocked the door of a family in Chakpora on Srinagar outskirts.
A girl, one of the five daughters of the family head, had half opened the gate when the unknown man handed her a letter.The contents of the letter disturbed the entire family. “The man who gave the letter had been quite polite,” said the girl’s uncle (name withheld).
The letter demanded Rs 5 lakh from the family within four days, saying the militant outfit was “facing financial crunch because of demonetisation.”
The letter promised the family that the money will be returned by February 30 but warned of dire consequences if anyone was alerted.
The word went out, prompting Hizb to issue a condemnation of any attempt to link the outfit with extortion.
Unfazed, however, one of the extortionist called the family and demanded money again, this time a lesser amount.
“The caller said they have not received their ‘amanat’. My sister told the caller that she has five daughters and how can she pay anything to them. After half an hour the caller called again and this time demanded only Rs 2 lakh.” The accused had slipped another threatening letter beneath the gate after the call.
The family then informed the police that tracked the call, leading them to the two culprits, one of them the next-door neighbour of the traumatised family.
The family suffered immensely for more than two weeks. The girl who received the first letter couldn’t write her NET examination last week, said the family.
“The girls did not let their father step out of the home. These beasts should not be bailed out. We can’t say what the family underwent during this period,” the uncle said.