Shopian: On the fateful Sunday evening when Shahnawaz Ahmad Wagay got late at work, he asked his boss Suhail Ahmad Wagay to drop him home. Suhail, who in absence of his father was looking after the family business, immediately agreed as his mother too was waiting for him on way in another village.
At 7:24 PM his uncle Manzoor Ahmad called him on his phone to which he replied that he will be home in half an hour. “At 7:31 pm we heard some gunshots. I called him one more time and this time his phone was switch off,” Manzoor said.
After about an hour, his brother Basharat Ahmad Wagay who was in Delhi with his father called and said that someone from his village was killed at Pahnoo.
Little did they know that it was their own child- who promised to return in half an hour-but returned in a body bag?
Suhail along with his worker Shahnawaz Ahmad Wagay and two others Muhammad Suhail and Gowhar Ahmad were allegedly killed by the army on Sunday evening.
“We went to district hospital in Shopian and got to know that his body was taken to District Police Lines Shopian,” Manzoor, his uncle said.
Shahnawaz Ahmad, who was working at Suhail’s cold storage, was the lone bread earner of his family. Shahnawaz belonged to a down trodden family who lived in Langdoora village of Shopian. A village where locals claim that has no active militants, has seen no cordon and search operation since long and there is no FIR registered against any youth in the village.
“When we went to District hospital in Shopian, we were told that his body was taken to District police line Shopian. We went there to bring his remains, we were told that his body was sent home,” Gulam Hassan Wagay, Shahnawaz’s cousin said.
Shahnawaz was buried among the sea of mourners after eight back to back funerals in his village. He is survived by old age parents and two unmarried sisters. His elder brother is married and is living separately.
The army had claimed that the civilians killed in the Pahnoo village were Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the militants.
A defence ministry spokesman had said a militant and three “OGWs” accompanying the militant, at Pahnoo village of Shopian were killed.
“Three OGWs accompanying the militant in a car were also found dead.”
However, the locals refuted the claim by the army and demanded evidence to support the army’s claim.
Barely 200 meters away from the spot where three others were found dead, Gowhar Ahmad Lone, 24, of Moolu, Trenz was found dead on the wheel of his Santro car bearing registration number JK01Q- 1723.
Lone, who had completed his M.P.Ed at a Kanpur University, had four bullets in his abdomen. According to the locals, there were no traces of blood in his vehicle. “The army said that he was killed during the encounter while running away. Had it been so, there would have been some blood stains in his car. There were none. It was all clean,” Waqar Ahmad, cousin of Gowhar said.
According to Waqar, his cousin, Gowhar was running a pesticide business in village.
“At 2 pm he went to Tengpuna Pulwama to bring some pear saplings for his orchard. We called him and he told us that he would be home in an hour. When we called him again, there was no one to pick the call. The phone kept ringing,” Waqar said.
Waqar said that till Monday morning they did not know that he was killed. “Until some locals called and said that his body is lying in the car near the Pahnou encounter site. The family said that his belongings including an I-phone were missing when they received the dead body.
The family claimed that he has no FIR against him and he was never arrested in any case.
“He was a cricket lover and used to play cricket in a local cricket ground,” Waqar said.
Muhammad Shahid Khan, 21, son of Bashir Ahmad Khan of Malik Gund Shopian had gone to apply for a job at a private home delivery services in Shopian.
“When he returned, he handed over the documents to his sister and left to play cricket at a local playground near under-construction building of poly-technique College. Till evening when he did not return, we called him on his phone and it was switched off,” Bashir Ahmad Khan, father of the deceased said.
“Then my elder son got a call and someone told him that someone from our village is among the killed. We went to hospital and we were told that his body is lying at DPL Shopian,” he added.
He said that he had bullet wounds in his abdomen and shoulder.