Masked men in black attire terrify family in Kupwara village

Masked men in black attire terrify family in Kupwara village

Arm of 16-year-old fractured; windows smashed

SRINAGAR: In Ward 17 of the Bone and Joint (B&J)Hospital, Barzulla, Zahid Ahmad Khan, 16, from Dewar, Lolab, is fumbling to narrate the horrific events he and his family endured over four days at their home in remote Kupwara district.

With him still not having recovered from the trauma of the violent series of attacks that culminatd in the intervening night of Thursday-Friday, Zahid’s elder brother, Yasir Khan, substitutes for him and recalls the sequence of the onslaught.

At around 10 in the evening of October 24, Khan says, a group of masked men in completely black attire attacked their one-storey house in Dewar with stones and bricks and left the windowpanes and glasses of the house completely damaged.

As the family crouched terrified inside, Khan says, one of the around six masked men tried to barge into the house by breaking one of its windows. “We couldn’t make much noise to alarm our neighbours about the attack. We feared that the stones they were hurling might hurt us badly or that they might be possessing arms and if we went out, we could be killed. Then, suddenly, the attackers stopped throwing stones and left,” Khan said.

While the orphaned family that includes four sisters, two brothers and their 45-year-old mother were recovering from this attack, the attackers came back only five hours later and attacked the house with stones once again.

“This time, the locals came out of their houses and started chasing these masked men but failed to nab them as they all hid in the nearby forest,” says Zahid’s elder sister, Tasleema, bewildered as to why only their family, out of the entire locality, was attacked so many times.

The attackers continued to torment the family for almost four days by attacking the house thrice every night. On October 27, Tasleema says, the masked men came again and this time seemingly with the intent to kill any of the family members.

“They (the masked men) started knocking at windowpanes and doors from several sides. They banged at a window near which Zahid was sitting; in anger, he opened it. As soon as he did, one of them pulled him out of the house, dragged him away nearby and began beating him mercilessly,” says his sister.

She says that after the family raised a hue and cry, neighbours gathered and chased these men once more and they hid again in the dense nearby forests. “We called the local army camp and told them that either their men were throwing stones at our house or some gang was intending to kill us. They told us they would immediately send their party to get to know the facts,” says Irshad Ahmad, a cousin of Zahid.

But when the army party did not arrive for quite some time, Irshad says, the family called the camp again, but this time nobody responded though they called the number twice.

In the shocking outbreak, Zahid’s left arm was fractured. He was shifted to the Kupwara district hospital, but due to the severity of the injury, doctors referred him to Srinagar’s B&J Hospital for further treatment. He is likely to go through an operation on Monday.

A student of Class 10, Zahid was busy with his exam preparations, but following the incident, doctors have advised the family that he won’t be able to write his exams because he needs to be operated upon after at least 9 days.

An official at Lalpora police station told Kashmir Reader that they have lodged an FIR vide number 82/2017 against unknown men and have launched an investigation into the matter.

“We have intensified the night patrolling in and around that locality. Since the attackers haven’t been identified by witnesses as they all had their faces covered, we can’t say anything as of now as to was behind these attacks,” a police official at Lalpora PS said.