Srinagar: Ishfaq Rashid Wani was an automobile mechanic, his work the main source of income for his family. He was saving money to set up his own mechanic shop, but on Tuesday he was shot in the chest by government troops at Chadoora in Budgam.
Ishfaq’s father, Abdul Rashid Wani, a resident of Wavoosa, Rangreth, in the outskirts of Srinagar, said that his son woke up lateon Tuesday and decided to skip his daily work. “He was awake till late night, playing with his younger sister,” Abdul Rashid said.
Abdul Rashid said he had to visit a relative’s home in Nishat and Ishfaq asked him to buy meat on the way back, for a friend he was expecting in the evening. “He offered me money but I did not take it even after he insisted. He then checked my pocket and relented only when I showed him that I had the cash,” Abdul Rashid said.
Abdul Rashid left home at about 11:30am. That was the last time he saw his youngest son alive.
Ishfaw was one of Abdul Rashid’s four children, among them one daughter. The family relied heavily on Ishfaq’s income. Abdul Rashid worked as a mason but in the year 2014, he quit his work because of asthma. All his sons worked as labourers, except Ishfaq. “Ishfaq worked the hardest. Even during the unrest last year, he repaired cars to support his family,” Abdul Rashid said.
Ishfaq had left studies in Class 8 and for the past four years was working as a mechanic in an automobile repair shop in Batamaloo. He wanted to have a repair shop of his own in Rangreth. “He had already found a place and had bought equipment from the money he had saved,” his friend Adil Ahmad said.
On Tuesday morning, Ishfaq had called Adil, who lives in Pampore, to invite him home for the night. “‘Let’s have a party’ were his words,” Adil said.
“He left home after having lunch at about 1pm,” Ishfaq’s elder brother Mehraj said. “He said he was going out but did not specify where.”
Mehraj said that Ishfaq sometimes took part in street protests. “He did participate in protests but only sometimes. Mostly he was busy with his work,” Mehraj said.
According to Ishfaq’s friends, he went to Chadoora in the afternoon to take part in the funeral procession of the two civilians killed there. “He was shot in the heart. He died on the spot,” a friend who accompanied Ishfaq to Chadoora said.
At about 3:30pm, Ishfaq’s father boarded a passenger vehicle from Lal Chowk to return home. As he sat in the taxi, waiting for it to leave, he received a call from an unknown number. The caller told him to rush to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital. “I realised then and there that something had gone terribly wrong,” Abdul Rashid said. By the time he reached the hospital, he saw a friend of his waiting for him at the entrance. “My son was already dead,” Abdul Rashid cried as he spoke of the tragedy.
The father draws some solace from considering the death as God’s will. “He owned him and He took him,” Abdul Rashid said.
Ishfaq’s wallet and his mobile phone were not found on his body. At his home in Rangreth, a new diesel pump that was to be installed at Ishfaq’s own repair shop, lies desolate near the staircase.