Srinagar: There once was a fast food stall by the roadside at Batamaloo in Srinagar, from which emanated the aroma of barbeque and Kashmiri wazwan dishes. Now a thick layer of dust is spread over this stall, like a shroud.
It was here, eight months ago, that 15-year-old Sajad Hassan, a Class 9 student, was shot dead by troops of the Border Security Force (BSF). The killing took place on April 15, after the BSF troopers were pelted with stones in Batamaloo.
The stall, owned and run by Ghulam Hassan Sheikh, the father of the slain Sajad, is since untouched. Unmoved from its location, it lies forlorn, its old life gone, much like what has happened to Ghulam Hassan’s family and his home.
Sheikh, belonging to a poor family that lives in Chandoosa village in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, used to earn a few thousand bucks every month by selling barbeques and Kashmiri wazwan items to sustain his family of six. They lived in a rented accommodation in Batamaloo.
“We would manage two meals a day, besides the expenditure on education of our children, including of Sajad, and other essential commodities. After a miserable past, we were living a blissful life. But it didn’t last for long,” the sad father said.
The incident has eaten up Sheikh so much that he is not able to concentrate on any other work. All the time he thinks of his son’s death and whether his killers will ever be brought to justice.
“I am waiting for the police investigation to complete, so that the murderers of my son are punished. They are roaming free and it has made me restless,” said Sheikh, who is living on the meagre savings of the past.
“Every passing day gives me a sense that there is nothing else than hopelessness and injustice. The older the case gets, the lesser the chances of its resolution remain. Police assured me of justice and a fair investigation, but I have seen no signs of it so far,” he said.
Sheikh and his family are now living again in Chandoosa. All they have taken back with them are distressful memories. Shiekh, who has three other children, all of them students, has confined himself in his house.
The day Sajad was killed, an FIR bearing No. 53/2017 under Section 302 of RPC (murder) was registered by the police against the BSF at Police Station Batamaloo.
Police claim they are investigating the case and refuse to share any information about the current status of the case. “The matter is under investigation. Let the investigation be complete and only then would I be able to share any details,” said station house officer, police station Batamaloo, Pervaiz Ahmad.
He said that evidence such as post-mortem report of the deceased is not available. He said the police were not allowed to carry out the post-mortem. Besides, he said, eyewitnesses of the incident did not come forward to record their statement.