Pulwama: With the head of the family nursing a neurological ailment and his son – the sole breadwinner of the family – languishing in jail, this Pulwama family has fallen deep into poverty and destitution.
Farooq Ahmad Mir, 55, of Kowsibagh village in Pulwama district, a mason by profession, was left half paralyzed by a neurological condition, leaving him unfit to work, some three years back.
Mir’s son, 21 year old Umar Farooq dropped out of school and started working to support the family.
However in February, earlier this year, Umar “got involved” in a weapon snatching case and has been in jail ever since. The family now is in dire straits.
The case pertains to weapon snatching and killing of a police man on February 25 outside Chrar-e-Sharief shrine in Budgam district.
That day, the family said, Umar was, as usual, ferrying passengers from his village to main town Pulwama when he was intercepted by some gun wielding militants outside the government degree college Pulwama.
“He told us later in the day that he was taken along by militants forcibly and then made to wait at a distance from where the weapon snatching took place,” Umar’s mother, Aisha begum, told Kashmir Reader.
She said that her son, unaware of what was happening, panicked and drove away from the place as soon as he heard some gunshots.
“He came home straightaway and narrated whatever had happened,” Begum said.
The family thought “speaking truth will save Umar” and handed him over to police the same evening at nearby Kakapora police station.
Umar was later handed over to the Budgam police, who booked him for the crime and was shifted to central jail in Srinagar. The case is sub judice now.
“We thought he will be spared because he was forcibly involved in the act at gunpoint. But I guess expecting justice was a mistake,” Mir told Kashmir Reader, as he struggles to speak.
Ever since, the financial condition of the family has been nosediving rapidly with no end to the misery in sight.
Umar’s vehicle, a Maruti Eeco, was seized by the police but the bank does not have a consideration for such cases and the family has been paying 6500 Rupees per month-to repay the car loan.
“Why would they care that the vehicle was not in service and is earning us no money? They want the loan to be repaid,” Begum said.
SSP Budgam, Tejinder Singh, told Kashmir Reader that the car won’t be released any time soon.
“Everything used in a terrorist activity is confiscated and released only after the case is concluded in the court. The matter is sub judice as of now,” Singh said.
Breaking the back of the family furthermore, the medical bills of Mir are rising every passing day. Begum confides that the monthly expenses of his medicines were more than 5000 rupees and every visit to the doctor costs them an additional 10 to 15 thousand rupees.
“This, at a time, when we have been earning nothing,” Begum laments.
The couple’s another son, Mubashir, has now dropped out of school and is doing menial jobs to support the family.
“Mubashir could have driven the Eeco now to support the family but……” Begum says.
To make the ends meet the family has now taken several loans from their neighbors and relatives. To repay them will be a herculean task.
The agonies of the Mir family do not seem to end anytime soon as the court proceedings might take a while.
The family understands that the matter was sub judice now and only in the hands of the court to decide; they are, nevertheless, making an emotional appeal, “to anyone who cares,”
“My son did not get involved in this by choice and we are now too broken to carry on like this. I hope some listens to us and sets our son free,” Begum says.
Till then the family continues to suffer with Mir lying in the house, Mubashir trying to find work and Begum, dead worried about the days to come.