SHOPIAN: Saima Hilal, sister of slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Sameer Ahmad Wani, died at SKIMS on Saturday evening after battling for life for 18 days, since she was wounded during a gunfight in which her brother was killed by government forces at her village in Shopian.
Her cousin brother Asif Ahmad Wani said that Saima had recently passed the Class 12 Board exams with 74 percent marks.
Saima was buried amid grief and anger beside her slain brother in her ancestral graveyard of Adoo village. At least two rounds of funeral prayers were attended by thousands of mourners who had assembled there from several parts of Shopian and Pulwama districts.
Pro freedom, anti-India, pro-Pakistan and Islamic slogans reverberated during the funeral of 18-year-old Saima. Several women fainted while her body was being brought to the funeral ground in a coffin wrapped with green color cloth with Quranic verses written on it.
Hilal Ahmad Wani, father of Saima, had had to bury his two children within a span of 17 days. He was the first to shoulder the coffin of his daughter. A group of reporters tried to talk to him but he wasn’t able to speak a word and only cried.
Villagers recounted the scene when Saima was injured with a bullet piercing her head. “As soon the forces cordoned our village, they started indiscriminate firing from all corners of village which resulted in killing of a boy, Shakir Ahmad Mir of Kalanpora village, who was not even aware that the village had been cordoned off. When the forces headed towards the interior of the village, they fired bullets at ladies who were trying to take refuge because of the massive firing,” one relative of Hilal Ahmad said.
Another eyewitness, Asif Ahmad, said that the army didn’t let them take the injured Saima to hospital. “They didn’t allow us to take her to hospital. Most of the blood fell from her body on the ground outside her home. Later some policemen came and told the army to let them take her to hospital. It took us around 30 minutes to reach a vehicle which was parked outside the village,” he said.
According to doctors of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Saima was in intensive critical unit (ICU) unit till Friday, when she was referred to the general ward.
Uncle of the slain girl, Lateef Ahmad Wani, complained, “Their (forces) fight is with rebels. Why do they kill our children? We are not begging for anything but for our right, which is Azadi (Freedom).”
“During her stay in ICU at SKIMS, she never spoke to us since she was unconscious or in coma but recently I told her to raise her hand and put it in my hand. She was hardly able to do so,” recalled Lateef with moist eyes.
Family sources told Kashmir Reader that the ailing mother of Saima, Jabeena Akhter, is suffering from multiple ailments and on the day of the encounter, Sameer had come home to visit her.
Saima’s cousin, Asif, said that Jabeena is suffering from pancreatic ailments . “She was surviving on prayers and medicines and that was the reason that her son visited home that day. She is unconscious and only prayers and Allah’s mercy can let her live,” he said.
Since January 24, eight persons including two militants and a 10-year-old boy, who was injured when a live shell exploded in his hand, have died follwing the encounter and forces’ firing Adoo village. Since December 19, the toll of slain persons is 11, including a lady who was killed during the Batmaran-Wanpora encounter in which two militants were killed, and later another 50-year-old man, Muhammad Ayoib Mir of Chitragam, succumbed to injuries sustained in forces’ firing.