Pulwama: In July this year, government forces fired a volley of pellets at 26-year-old Fayaz Ahmad Wani, which just missed his head and hit him in his right arm instead – while he was riding back home from main town Pulwama.
With fifty pellets still embedded in his arm, Fayaz had come to think of himself as a lucky man to have survived the onslaught.
“Had the man in uniform not missed, I might have been dead by now,” he told his friends multiple times since the incident.
He ran out of luck, however, on Tuesday afternoon. He was shot in the head by government forces right outside his village, Chewa Kalan, in this south Kashmir district.
“This time they aimed at his head and they did not miss,” one of Fayaz’s friends told Kashmir Reader, requesting anonymity.
The incident took place at about noon between Chewa-Kalan and Gusoo villages in Pulwama district.
Government forces had launched a massive cordon and search operation, spanning 18 villages including Gusoo, early Tuesday morning.
Local youths had put up roadblocks at the entry point of Gusoo village to prevent government forces from entering the area.
“At about noon, Fayaz along with some ten other boys was standing around the roadblock when a forces’ vehicle approached the spot,” an eyewitness told Kashmir Reader.
He said that everyone ran for cover as the forces’ personnel disembarked from the vehicle.
“Fayaz and some of his friends ran towards a nearby graveyard when the forces’ personnel aimed their guns and fired at his head,” he said.
The local boys Kashmir Reader talked to said that the forces’ personnel did not allow them to go near Fayaz for about 15 minutes.
“As they left the spot we rushed to pick him up, but he was almost dead by then,” the boys said.
Fayaz was rushed to Pulwama district hospital and was revived, briefly, by the doctors there.
“He showed signs of life as we tried to revive him. After that we referred him to Srinagar,” a doctor at Pulwama district hospital told Kashmir Reader.
Fayaz was declared dead on arrival at SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
The youngest among four siblings, Fayaz worked at a diagnostic centre in Pulwama town as a lab technician.
The people in his village described Fayaz as a pious soul, who never meant harm to anyone and was always helpful.
Police, following the killing, maintained that a person was killed during clashes after being hit by a bullet. They did not explain who fired the bullet and why.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was today observed in Pulwama district to protest the killing. All commercial establishments, schools, colleges and offices remained closed throughout the day.