Dragad: 70 year old Ghulam Mohammad Thoker could not bear the news about his son’s death during an encounter at Sugran Dragad village in Shopian on Sunday. Thoker, though bed ridden was not informed about his son’s death, but as he kept enquiring about him the family had to break the news to him.
“The moment he learned about Mushtaq’s death he went into a shock. We rushed him to a hospital where doctors said that he has suffered a heart attack. Though he survived but doctors are saying that his condition is critical,” said a relative of the slain man.
Mushtaq Ahmed Thoker (38), a resident of Sugan Dragad was the first civilian who was killed in an encounter that left seven militants dead. His family says that he was made a human shield by the army personnel and during the gunfight he was hit by several bullets leaving him dead on the spot.
The young man who was associated with fruit business left behind his aged parents, a wife and two minor kids (twins).
“He got killed when forces asked him to go to the house where militants were hiding. He was told to tell the civilians to come out of the house, however as he moved near to the house a volley of bullets was fired from both the sides leaving him dead,” said a relative.
“His wife is still in a shock and so are his kids Hadi Mushtaq and Lubna Mushtaq, both studying in call sixth,” added the relative.
“Mushtaq Ahmad was woken up from his sleep in the dead of the night by army men and told to accompany them toward a nearby house where they suspected militants were hiding,” said his brother, Mohammad Maqbool.
“As he called out the owner of the house Rafiq Ahmad Nengroo, the militants, eleven in number saw the soldiers approaching and came out. Soon an intense gunfight started raging between government forces and the militants. The army fired a volley of bullets towards the militants outside Negroos house. Thokur was caught unawares and was the first to get killed,” locals said.
“He was used as human shield by the Army,” Thokur’s family alleged.
“Our father is ailing from the past many years now and mother too has lost eyesight some three years back,” said elder brother of Mushtaq.
Mushtaq is not alone who was killed in a situation that could have otherwise been avoided.
Another youth Mohammad Iqbal Bhat son of late Manzoor Ahmad Bhat got killed near encounter site in Kachdoora when he was on the way to visit his in laws in Chatewatan. Locals said that Iqbal was hit by a bullet when he was heading towards the Chatewatan village.
He has left behind an 18 months old baby girl Aiza and a wife.
“His three brothers are married and are living separately as his parents have already passed away,” said his friend.
22 year old Zubair Ahmed Bhat son of Abdul Ahad Bhat of Gopalpora was killed near the encounter site in Kachdoora. He had dropped out from 12th class and was supporting his family by doing menial jobs.
“Zubair has left behind old aged parents, a physically challenged brother Sameer Ahmad and and two unmarried sisters,” said one of his relative.
Another victim, Mehraj ud din Mir (25) son of Mohammad Yaseen Mir of Okay Kulgam suffered a bullet injury during the protests in Kachdoora.
Mir was rushed to a local hospital, however, he died on way. “He dropped out of school when he was studying in 10th standard and was now working as labourer,” said Fayaz Ahmad, his relative.
He said that he has left behind his parents, two sisters and a younger brother, all unmarried.
Meanwhile, four rounds of funeral prayers were held before he was laid to at his native village.