It was Tuesday afternoon on August 1st. Nazir Ahmad Bhat of Gabbar Pora village was waiting for his nephew, Akeel Ahmad Bhat to return home from a nearby shop to have lunch together.
Nazir recalled that Akeel had told him that he would return in five minutes but before he could walk home army fired three bullets on bystanders in Gabbar Pora, a village around 10 kilometers from Shopian, two of which hit Akeel in the abdomen. Latter, he passed away at a Srinagar hospital.
Nazir said that Akeel talked to him while they were ferrying him (Akeel) from primary health centre Rajpora to district hospital.
“I was not knowing that army would shoot me for doing no offence,” Nazir recalls Akeel saying.
Nazir and the villagers allege that Akeel like others was not part of any protests. He was coming home after he had gone to a nearby shop to buy some items for his younger siblings.
“We urge authorities to book the army personnel who fired at Akeel without any provocation. The authorities should investigate the matter and register a case against the army personnel,” Nazir, Akeels said.
For Akeels mother, the tragedy has come as a rude shock. Masooda Jan was recovering from the trauma of losing her husband, when misfortune struck her again, taking her elder son, Akeel away.
Masooda had lost her husband, Abdul Majeed Bhat around eight years ago. Since then she had managed the daily chores of her family and bring up her three kids-Akeel, Rehana, 15, and Adil Majeed Bhat, 11.
Drudgery and widowhood have taken the sheen of Masooda’s face away and she gives the look of an old lady thought she is barely in her late 30’s.
Things were slowly turning in her favour after Akeel took the responsibility of the family on his shoulders. A class 12th student, Akeel simultaneously used to work as a manual labour to support his family.
“He used to attend classes at government higher secondary school Haal for three days and for other four days he used to work as a manual labour,” Masooda said, adding that he was their sole bread earner.
“The army has killed our hope and our dreams,” the grieving mother said.
The mother said that on the fateful day she was at a nearby village. “When I reached at the gate of my house, I heard few gun shots,” she said, adding that people were running towards the spot.
Little knowing that her son has been shot, Masooda started to move towards the spot but was stopped from villagers at midway. “I couldn’t see the face of my son,” she said.
Akeel’s younger brother Adil, who is a class 3rd student at the village school, said that his elder brother was looking after his studies and the needs of the entire family.
“He didn’t want us to achieve heights. All he wanted was to keep us happy,” Adil, said before falling into silence.