Thousands gather to comfort families, mourn at funerals of Shopian students

Thousands gather to comfort families, mourn at funerals of Shopian students
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Shopian: Rows of mourners on Sunday were visiting Ganowpora and Balpora villages to offer comfort to the families of the slain students who were killed on Saturday by army firing. Both the slain were buried on Saturday night at around 10 pm where thousands of people offered their farewell to Javid Ahmad of Balpora and Suhail Javid of Ganowpora at their respective villages.
The families of the slain students said that they don’t believe in the enquiry ordered by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. “Are they going to take action and hang those who killed my son? No, they will come out with an excuse where they will call our sons guilty,” said Abdul Rasheed Bhat (65), the father of Javid.
Suhail’s father, Javid Ahmad Lone (42), said, “If they are true in their order, they would have punished those who killed the civilians slain before my son. It is for nothing but to divert the attention of the public.”
Two days had not passed when the huge orchard at Ganowpora again turned dense with mourners who, on January 25, had participated in the funeral prayers of slain militant Firdous, laid here to rest. Firdous was killed in an encounter at Choeigund-Adoo village along with another militant, Sammer Ahmad.
Javid Lone, the father of the slain Suhail, told Kashmir Reader that his son was at home on the fateful Saturday and was not part of protest or stone throwing. “Around 3 pm, an indiscriminate firing started in the village which continued for at least 30 minutes, and Suhail was beside me at our home. When we heard the firing has stopped, he went outside, and forces from some 100 metres of distance fired on him.
“I was told that he has been referred to Pulwama hospital and I rushed towards Pulwama, but doctors there told us he was not brought there. In the meantime, one of the persons accompanying me got a call, and the person on the phone told him that Suhail was referred to Rajpora hospital,” Javid said.
“As soon as I reached Rajpora, I saw my son lying on a bed, silent with a pale face. Those who had carried him to hospital were crying, and I came to know that my son was dead. The sky fell over me, I don’t know what is happening since then,” narrates Javid.
Suhail’s mother was wailing for her son; tears were rolling down her cheeks and village ladies were trying to comfort her. “No one was like you, my prince, why have you left me alone here? You were my only trust for my old age,” she wept.
Javid said that Suhail was intelligent at his academic studies as well in religious affairs. “He used to pray five times a day besides memorising the Quran. He opted for medical after completing 10th class and was studying with dedication. He was planning for admission in engineering in some college outside Kashmir, but Allah is the best chooser who chooses his martyrdom,” says Javid, while adding that before the day of the encounter at Choeigund-Adoo nearby, he had held a video call with his cousins and they were discussing the progress of their studies and coaching.
Javid’s house and the local martyr’s graveyard were covered with Pakistani flags and with hoardings displaying photos of slain militants of different outfits, including Burhan Wani, Zahid Ahmad and Firdous Ahmad, as well as of civilian Adil and several other militants.
Eyewitnesses said that Suhail’s body was wrapped in the Pakistani flag for burial. One of the friends of Suhail, while wailing his demise, was holding Suhail’s smart phone and displaying his pictures with other friends.
Villagers said that five rounds of funeral prayers were offered for Suhail by thousands of people from the area. They said he was buried besides Firdous in the village’s martyr’s graveyard. Suhail has left behind his parents and two younger brothers, 10 and 12 years old, the villagers said.
At Balpora village, which is located besides the ‘12 sector RR (Brigade headquarters) of the Indian army’, where the army has occupied about 250 kanals of SKAUST land since more than 20 years, rows of mourners, including relatives, were visiting the home of Abdul Rasheed Bhat and were offering condolences to the bereaved family whose son, Javid Ahmad, was also killed by the army at Ganowpora village. According to his family, he had gone there to buy a gas cylinder.
The local graveyard of Balpora, which is some 30 metres away from the army headquarters, was decorated with multiple Pakistani flags.
Javid, his father said, had gone to Ganowpora to bring an LPG cylinder. “Around 2 pm on Saturday, he told me to provide him a photostat of my Aadhaar card and cash for buying a gas cylinder. I did so and provided him the cash and photostat, but an hour had not passed when I heard that Javid had been shifted to Pulwama hospital after he was injured in army firing,” Abdul said.
“I left everything and rushed to the Pulwama hospital. As soon as I arrived there, I heard people whispering that Javid was declared brought dead by doctors. I lost my consciousness, what else than crying was left for me?”
Abdul added that Javid was the lone person from the family who had crossed the matric class and was studying at Government Degree College, Shopian, in the first year of his Bachelor’s degree. “He used to give us good suggestions and we had belief in him as he was a pious and down-to-earth person. I respected him more than my own son because he was nice and reasonable, but the army snatched our son and guide,” says Bashir Ahmad Magray, one of Javid’s neighbours.
Villagers said that despite the army’s living on the village’s land, the killing of Javid was a ‘gift’ of the forces for the village. “Last year, they ransacked our houses and smashed the windowpanes of our cars without any reason or ‘provocation’,” an elderly man from village said.
Villagers said that Javid was laid to rest around 10 pm of Saturday night while thousands attended the four rounds of funeral prayers. They said that Javid’s body was also wrapped in the Pakistani flag for the burial.