Hajin (Bandipora): “The head was severed from the upper end of the neck with a sharp weapon. The back of the torso was bruised all over, and so were the legs. There was a superficial burn injury on the right chest. The left shoulder seemed fractured and dislocated. The upper end of the raw neck which was separated from the head was burned.”
These were observations made by doctors who performed the post-mortem of Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, 25 years old, who was abducted from home late Wednesday night by “unknown gunmen”, who also abducted his father, Abdul Gaffar Bhat. The father told Kashmir Reader that his abductors “released” him the same night, but only after firing a bullet into his waist.
At his home in Hajin, where family members awaited news of the young man, news beyond their worst nightmares arrived on Friday: one kilometer from their home in Gundboun village, locals had found his decapitated body in an apple orchard.
“We recieved a phone call from a farmer. He told us the decapitated body of Manzoor was lying in the orchard. We immediately ran to the spot and brought the body to hospital,” said a neighbour who was among the men who went to retrieve Manzoor’s body.
When the body was brought home, after a post-mortem was conducted at hospital, it was kept for a very brief time. “It was unbearable to many, and the family seemed to lose control over themselves,” said a local.
After villagers performed the body wash, it was buried in a graveyard at Khos Mohalla after funeral prayers.
According to Abdul Gaffar Bhat, “Two unknown gunmen barged into our home on Wednesday midnight, and took me and my son with them. Though I was released, they fired upon me. My son was taken away and I returned home with a firearm injury in my waist.”
Gaffar said that “from the time they took my son, we had been searching for him everywhere in the village.”
Manzoor was a labourer who had a small herd of sheep that he grazed on pastures around the village. He is survived by his parents, a brother, and two sisters.
Police say the killing is the work of a group of Lashkar militants. Senior Superintendent of Police Sheikh Zuflikar told Kashmir Reader that Lashkar wants to avenge the killing of its militants last year in this Hajin village.
“It is the reason why they are targeting civilians who are not involved in any criminal activity. They want to spread fear among the villagers,” the SSP said.
In an official statement, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the beheading of “a youth of Hajin in Bandipora district who was abducted during Wednesday night.”
The chief minister said the inhuman way in which the youth was done to death is “against the social ethos and cultural value system of people of the sate.”
“The Chief Minister has conveyed her sympathies with the bereaved family,” the statement said.
Former chief minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah hit out at pro-freedom leaders for not criticising and condemning the killing of youth.
“Any shutdown call or call for “peaceful protests” for Manzoor Ahmed who’s decapitated body was found in north Kashmir after he’d been abducted and killed by militants? No? I’m not surprised.
The “unknown gunmen” are conveniently termed to give cover to those who don’t want to/can’’t criticize terrorist crimes.”