Anantnag: On the afternoon of August 9 this year, Mohammad Ashraf Dar, a militant affiliated to the alleged Al Qaeda offshoot Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was shot dead along with two other militants in a brief gunfight by government forces in Gulab Bagh area of Tral.
When the news reached his home in Bagh-e-Trich village of Pulwama, festivities of the marriage ceremony of Dar’s elder brother turned into mourning in a moment. The wedding was postponed and the food cooked for the feast was served to the mourners who began arriving to offer condolences.
In strife-torn Kashmir, marriage ceremonies have often been held amid gloom, but since last year’s uprising, death has visited at least four such ceremonies in south Kashmir.
Head Constable Ashiq Hussain was filling in the ‘Nikah’ papers at the marriage ceremony of a relative’s daughter this Monday evening in Padgampora village of Awantipora, when armed militants barged into the house.
Sources said that the militants first started beating him and when Hussain’s wife and children pleaded with the militants, “they left him alone and went outside.”
“But they returned after a few minutes and pumped multiple shots into his body. He died then and there,” a source told Kashmir Reader.
The ‘Nikah’ was concluded amid wails and sobs, with contingents of police and army forming a cordon around the house.
Sources in the police said Hussain chose to visit the marriage function despite being advised not to by some of his senior officials.
That is also what the slain army officer, Lieutenant Umar Fayyaz, did on the fateful night of May 9 earlier this year.
Fayyaz, a commissioned officer of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), was visiting home at a time when families of government forces personnel were being attacked in south Kashmir.
Police had issued advisories asking their men not to visit their homes, days before Fayyaz’s visit home.
A resident of Sursona village in Kulgam district, Fayyaz was visiting his maternal uncle’s house in Batpora village of Shopian, to attend the marriage ceremony of his cousin sister.
Gunmen came barging into the house that Fayyaz was visiting, and abducted him on gunpoint. His bullet-riddled body was found next morning in Harmain village of Shopian.
While these incidents took place at a time when south Kashmir was in the grip of militancy, Constable Reyaz Ahmad fell to bullets in May 2016, and during the marriage ceremony of a cousin.
Reyaz was caught in between when militants attacked security guards of a National Conference (NC) leader, who was visiting the marriage ceremony of Reyaz’s cousin in Munghama village of Pulwama. While the security guards escaped with minor injuries Reyaz, the cousin of the bride, was grievously injured and later succumbed at SMHS Hospital in Srinagar.