Kupwara: ZMohd Maqbool Ganie, a labourer by profession and a resident of Sogam, Kupwara, was killed during an army operation in Dardsun, Kralpora, on November 30, 1992. His son Zakir was four years old at that time. Zakir’s mother for several years tried to secure a job under the Jammu and Kashmir (Compassionate Appointment) Rules, 1994, better known as SRO-43 (Service Rules Order), which provides for a government job to a family member of a civilian killed in a militancy-related incident. A few years ago she gave up that frustrating chase and married another man. Zakir, now 25 years old and a BA first-year student at Govt Degree College Sogam, has been fighting a lone battle for the past many years to get the job he is entitled to under the 1994 Service Rules Order.
“Forget any investigation into my father’s killing, the officials are not even approving my case under the SRO-43,” Zakir Ahmad Ganie told Reader. “Soldiers of the army’s 13 commando battalion killed my father and another civilian in Dardsun, Kralpora, in what turned out to be a fake operation in which no militant was killed. My father was a labourer by profession,” Zakir said.
“My mother used to pursue the SRO case but she gained nothing from it. She was tired and alone. Some years ago she married another person, leaving me alone. My father’s sister took care of me. I now live with her as I have no sister or brother,” Zakir said.
“I was shocked to hear from villagers that the so-called encounter in which my father was killed was fake. No militant was killed in that encounter, just the two local civilians,” Zakir said.
“In the initial days, I thought I will bring to justice those who mercilessly killed my father when he was only 37 years old. I went to the Trehgam police station where the FIR was registered, but I came to know that no investigation had been carried out. There was just the battalion’s name, no mention of the soldiers who fired the bullets. I lost hope when I learnt that the case had not moved forward an inch since the time my father was killed. Then I thought, I am alone in this world, why not pursue the SRO case that my mother gave up on. I, too, have made no progress. The people sitting in the administration have one lame excuse after the other to deny my claim,” Zakir said.
“Officials would tell me in the initial days that I was under-age. After I reached the requisite age, they came up with the silly excuse that you need to get married first. I told them I wanted to complete my studies, at which they told me that if I stop following this SRO case, they will give me some compensation,” Zakir told Reader.
“It has become a routine for me to visit the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kupwara every week. It has been to no avail but I am not giving up. I don’t have anyone to support my studies; these visits affect my class work; but what can I do, I have no other option,” Zakir said.
Zakir earns wages as a labourer to feed himself and to pay his college fees. He has no memory of his father but he always carries a black-and-white passport size photograph of his father and a copy of the FIR registered over his killing.
When contacted, the DC Kupwara, GM Dar, said that he was not aware of Zakir’s case but he would look into it and, if Zakir visits his office, he will meet him.