SRINAGAR: On the road that climbs up and away from the main Harwan-Darbagh road at Muftibagh, dirges could be heard from a distance on Tuesday. A police vehicle stood outside the house of the Bhat family, along with a few cops. At the main gate, where her son used to park his motorbike, Mughli was crying her heart out and refusing to go inside. She could neither see the bike, nor her son.
After some women consoled Mughli, she began to cry in whispers. “Son, where are you?”, “Are you riding your bike in Pulwama?” She then crawled to the spot where her son’s body was washed for the last time. With a sort of frenzy, she began kissing the ground. “Did they bathe you here?” she cried repeatedly.
On Monday evening, militants fired at a vehicle belonging to National Conference district president Ghulam Mohiuddin Mir. Two of Mir’s police guards were hit by bullets. The militants took their rifles and fled away. The injured cops were rushed to District Hospital Pulwama, where Nisar Ahmad was referred to Srinagar and Mudasir Ahamad was declared brought dead.
As she lamented the death of her son, Mughli compared his bullet-ridden body to that of another: that of Mudasir’s uncle, Mohammad Ismail, who was killed when forces opened fire on a peaceful march at Zakura, Hazratbal, in March 1990. “These bullets killed your uncle and now they have killed you, too,” Mughli cried out loudly.
In the kitchen, handicapped and stuck on a wheel-chair, was Haji Abdul Rehman Bhat, father of Mudasir. He wasn’t speaking much.
Mudasir lived with his parents. He was married and had two children. His two brothers live a couple of hundred meters from the house.
Outside the kitchen, Mudasir’s son Huzaif, who studies in nursery class, was playing with other children. He seemed happy, having no idea what had befallen on him.
“Isn’t her sister playing with the children?” this reporter asked. It turned out that his sister, Hadia, wasn’t playing because she was in the lap of her mother. She is only five months old.
The male relatives had assembled in a neighbour’s house. Mudasir’s two brothers, sitting in a corner together, were crying silently. They were kissing images of their brother on their mobile phones.
“I told him to not join the police. I opened for him a readymade garments shop. But he was excited after he was selected and didn’t listen. He realized his folly later. He used to tell me, ‘Brother, you were right’,” said Abdul Rasheed Bhat, elder brother of Mudasir.
“This (police) job has nothing in it. It is better to work as a labourer or simply beg. This is not because my brother has died; his time had come and he would have died anyway; but it was his family that had to face hardship always, as he was posted in Pulwama away from them. He was not allowed to come home even in case of emergencies,” Rasheed said.
Mudasir had come home on that fateful day. He went to drop his wife at a wedding and from there went to join duties at the NC leader’s house. Late that evening, his body was brought home, after a wreath-lying ceremony for him was held at District Police Lines Pulwama. Although the DIG Anantnag and SSP Pulwama were present at the ceremony, his family says no government official or senior police officer came to their home.
“Apart from the DSP of the area, no one has come here yet. Where is that leader for whom our brother died? Where are the officers for whom he used to work? That is why I hate this (police) department; they have no humanity,” Rasheed said.
As I was leaving the Bhat house, Mughli had again come out to look for her son. “Are you riding your bike in Pulwama? Where are you my son? Come back to me.”
Her dirges echoed in the nearby orchards and could be heard from a distance on the road that led away from the house.