HANDWARA: Six-month-old Maryam has lost her mother. She looks at the throng of people visiting her house but sees not that familiar, beloved face that was her joy and comfort. The lap in which she lay and the bosom into which she snuggled have vanished from this world. And the little Maryam knows it not. She only cries, and looks about, for her mother, while those who look at her are unable to hold back their tears.
On Monday, Maryam’s mother, a young woman named Misra Banoo, was killed amid a gunfight between Lashkar-e-Toiba militants and government forces at Younso village of Handwara. Misra Banoo, 25, was the lone daughter of 60-year-old Mohammad Shaban Mir and was married to local boy Ishfaq Ahmad Wani less than two years ago. The couple took care of the ailing Mir and lived a blissful married life, made all the more happier by the birth of a beautiful daughter whom Mir named Maryam Jan.
Little did Mir know that six months later, his daughter would be dead, and the little Maryam an orphan.
Residents of Younso village on Monday morning found Misra Banoo lying in a pool of blood. They rushed her to hospital, but she had already passed away.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police Muneer Khan said that militants took hostage some civilians inside the house they were hiding in. He said that the police rescued them, but Misra Banoo could not be saved. “Unfortunately, Misra could not get out of the house and was hit by a bullet in cross firing, and died,” Khan was reported as saying. The locals have blamed the government forces for the killing of Misra.
A complete shutdown was observed in Younso village on Tuesday with all the shops and other business centres remaining closed. Hundreds of people from the neighbouring villages came to offer condolences to the ailing Mir and his son-in-law. All of them had tears rolling down their cheeks at the sight of the little Maryam.