Anantnag: As sloganeering and stone pelting reverberated in Havoora village of Kulgam district on Saturday following alleged vandalism by army, Ali Muhammad Mokdam locked his family, wife and three daughters, inside his house.
As the family keenly listened to whatever was happening outside, the slogans of defiance soon fell silent as army guns roared. The sound of bullets fell silent as well and then cries of pain and anguish reverberated in the area.
These cries were too near and too clear to be missed by the Mokdam family, who were still locked inside.
But the cries grew louder, pain evident; the Mokdam family contemplated their next move. As all others were still contemplating, youngest member of the family-13 year old Andleeb-dashed out of the house.
“She ventured out to see who was crying in pain and found Shakir, a neighborhood boy, lying in a pool of blood writhing in absolute pain,” Muhammad Amin, Andleeb’s uncle told Kashmir Reader. Amin lives next to the Mokdam family.
He said that several other girls had also run out to try and save Shakir. “While they tried to pick Shakir up, some army men nearby spotted them and opened fire yet again. This time targeting the girls,” Amin said, adding that the other girls were saved as the wall of a shop covered them from the line of fire.
Andleeb, however, was not fortunate enough. She was standing directly in the line of fire and was shot at. “This second bout of firing was more than ten minutes after the first one,” a neighbour, requesting not to be named, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the girls assembled there raised hue and cry forcing many more people to rush outside.
Both the injured were picked and rushed to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Frisal area of Kulgam district. Both were declared dead on arrival.
The family of Andleeb has said that she was killed in cold blood by the army.
“She was not part of the protests, nor is the firing on stone pelting youth justified. She was only trying to save an injured person. But the army men seemed to have come on a mission to kill and they did kill,” the family maintains.
The whole Havoora village on Saturday continued to be in mourning, more so the three families of the victims.
Andleeb’s parents are inconsolable. Her mother has fallen unconscious multiple times since Saturday and the whole village is yet to come to terms with what had befallen them.
Andleeb and Shakir were neighbours and Irshad, another youth of the village killed on Saturday, lived just a block away.
“It was a massacre. They had come prepared to kill. They provoked young men to pelt stones and then fired at them,” the villagers told Kashmir Reader.
Army on the other hand is saying that they were fired upon from within the “menacing” stone pelting crowd, following which “controlled” firing was resorted to disperse the mob.
“The firing resulted in unfortunate loss of human lives,” a defense spokesperson said.
Amid mourning, the villagers manage a smile of disgust and contempt when told about the army version of the killings.