Srinagar: On Tuesday when Jammu Bar Association issued a “Jammu Bandh” call to protest against the police crime branch’s investigation into the Asifa rape and murder case, family members of Asifa fled their home in Rasana village fearing for their safety.
Akhtar Pujwala, the uncle of Asifa, told Kashmir Reader that their family, which is led by his elder brother and Asifa’s father, Muhammad Yousuf Pujwala, along with his wife, two children and livestock fled the village on Tuesday evening. “They travelled to the house of another brother of ours in Samba,” he said, adding that family along with its livestock will travel on to Kashmir valley as they do every summer.
He said the family felt insecure in their house as communal tensions had risen in the area since the Jammu Bar called for a strike and held public protests in favour of those accused of the crime.
Akhtar said that he had tried to make the family stay back at their home in Rasana, but they did not agree.
He said the family was on tenterhooks and was preparing to move out of Rasana ever since the fateful day when Asifa’s mutilated body was recovered from the forests. However, relatives till Tuesday had succeeded in holding them back. On Tuesday, however, as the communal tensions reached a high pitch due to the bandh call, the Pujwala family finally moved out.
The Pujwalas were due to travel to Kashmir next month along with other nomads from the village. They have started early and have already reached Samba, where they will stay with Pujwala’s brother for a few days. The family will continue their travel to Kashmir valley along with 20 horses, 150 sheep and 3 dogs.