Muheet ul Islam/Kaiser Majeed
Srinagar: The family of Ghulam Mohmmad Haroon, a 45-year-old tailor who died after being hit by a train in Sebdan area of Budgam on Sunday, is wondering how come he managed to reach Budgam when he left for Safa Kadal in old Srinagar.
Mohmmad Shafi Laway, Haroon’s relative, told Kashmir reader that Haroon left for Safa Kadal to deliver an order of two waist-coats to one of his customers, saying he would return by afternoon along with vegetables for dinner.
“He left at 9 in the morning. At about 1:30pm, some policemen from Qamarwari police post came and informed us that Haroon had died after being hit by a train at Budgam,” Laway said, adding that every single member of the family rushed outside barefooted. “He never ever in his life had gone beyond Bemina Chowk.”
Laway and other relatives who were mourning Haroon’s death at his single-storey house made of poor-grade bricks and mud in Qamarwari area of Srinagar, are of the opinion that Haroon was not hit by a train but murdered. “Initially we felt he might have met with an accident, but once we started performing his ghasul (full body wash before burial) we saw some strange marks on his back,” Laway told Kashmir Reader.
“We also noticed that his right leg had a bullet mark, his bone was broken, and his hand had turned blue-black,” Laway said. “All such things make us believe that there is something suspicious about his death.”
Haroon’s another relative, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Reader that the family believes there were clashes on Sunday in Safa Kadal after news of killings of militants and civilians in Shopian spread across Kashmir. Haroon could have been there at that time. “We think some untoward incident might have happened with him during the clashes in Safa Kadal,” the relative said.
He said that when a few neighbours and relatives reached District Hospital Budgam, they found Haroon’s body wrapped in a blanket and lying in a Sumo vehicle. “Hospital authorities told us to not remove the bandage that was covering the head of the body, as it was severely damaged after being hit by the train,” the relative said.
However, police officers and local residents of Safa Kadal told Kashmir Reader that there were no clashes in the area on Sunday. A Railway officer, SDPO Mushtaq Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that the family’s version was based on assumption and not on fact. He said that Haroon was hit by a train near Sebdan at 12:30pm. “The loco-pilot sent us a memo soon after the incident happened. We rushed to the spot and recovered the body,” Mushtaq said.
Mushtaq said there were several eyewitnesses who gave their statement to police that they saw a train hitting Haroon when he was crossing the railway track. “Once Railway Police reached the accident spot, we recorded statements from several eyewitnesses to know how the accident took place,” Mushtaq said, adding, “Railway Police had tried their best to caution him by blowing their whistles, and eyewitnesses had also cautioned him.”
“Police recovered a two-rupee coin and his election card from his possession, which helped us to communicate the death to Police Station Parimpora,” Mushtaq said.
According to medical records that police showed Kashmir Reader, Haroon was brought dead to Budgam district hospital. Medical records also say that Haroon was hit by a train and his head was severely damaged. He had injuries on other body parts as well.
Mushtaq said that police are investigating the case under Section 174 of CrPC and if his family is not satisfied with the medical report, then a post-mortem can be conducted. “They can write a letter to the Deputy Commissioner for exhuming the body so that its post-mortem can be conducted,” Mushtaq said. “Police had already asked them (family members) to let them conduct a post-mortem, but they did not hand over the dead body and took it away for burial.”
Haroon’s relatives said that some “unknown people” came and took the body along with them for burial. “The group of unknown people did not allow us to hand over the body to police for post-mortem, saying that the police should have done it earlier and if they do it now, the report will be the same as they say,” Laway said.
Haroon is survived by his wife and three daughters. Laway said that Haroon was a tailor and had brought up his daughters in extreme poverty by stitching waist-coats at his home. “All of his daughters are studying,” he said.