SRINAGAR: Irfan Fayaz Wani was an 18-year-old auto-rickshaw driver when he was shot dead by government forces on August 21, 2016, at Malaratta Chowk in Nowhatta at 6:30pm, a few kilometres away from his home in Fateh Kadal. There were 21 FIRs registered against Irfan in different police stations of Srinagar at that time.
When his auto-rickshaw was searched by his friends, they found a small diary under the hood. Irfan had noted down FIR numbers on the left side and dates for court appearances on the right side. There was nothing else written in the diary.
Irfan’s mother, Rafiqa Banoo, said the family had organised a small programme in memory of her son on his first death anniversary. She said the programme was disrupted by the police.
Irfan’s elder brother, Aijaz Fayaz Wani, was also detained by police at Fateh Kadal chowki. A relative of Aijaz, Muzamil, said that he was questioned as to why the family had organised a programme in the slain boy’s memory. “He was asked why the family had made banners and posters. They asked him on whose behest were they made,” Muzamil said.
Aijaz, who drives the auto that once Irfan used to drive, is the lone bread earner of his family. Besides his mother Rafeeqa, Aijaz takes care of two unmarried sisters. They live in a small improvised two-room home, which is situated precariously on the banks of the Jhelum river in a poor locality.
Muzamil said that Aijaz was called to the police chowki on Tuesday evening and detained there for the entire night. When he was released on Wednesday morning, he was again called to the police chowki two hours later and detained till the afternoon. Aijaz’s relatives said that he has been asked by police to report to the police chowki as and when he is called.
Police at Fateh Kadal chowki denied these allegations. They termed them “baseless and fabricated”.
An official at the police chowki said, “We never detained Aijaz. We noticed that Aijaz had erected some banners on the road on Monday and called him to the chowki. Later, his mother came and took him along. We did not detain him for the night.”
When asked if Aijaz has been told to report to the chowki again, as claimed by his family, the official denied the claims.