MAGRAYPORA (BUDGAM): Family members of 28-year-old Ishfaq Ahmad Ganie, a resident of Magraypora in Chadoora area of Budgam who died from bullet injuries sustained near an army camp Friday evening, have contested the army’s claim that he was shot at by militants.
The army statement released soon after the incident on Friday said that the man was fired upon by militants and not by army soldiers.
It was a “terrorist committed atrocity,” the army spokesman said, and added the man was shot at by militants almost half a kilometre away from the army camp at Chattergam.
The army statement went on to say that when army troops heard sound of gunfire, their quick reaction team (QRT) immediately rushed towards the direction of gunfire to find out what was happening. When they reached the spot, they saw the man lying in a pool of blood.
“He had bullet injuries, one in head and the other in leg. He was immediately taken to Chhatargam hospital from where doctors shifted him to SMHS,” the army statement said.
At the slain man’s home in Magraypora, two canopies were erected on Saturday: one in the lawn of the house and another in the lawn of the neighbour’s house. Magraypora is a village that lies on the border of Pulwama and Budgam districts along the Srinagar-Pulwama road.
At his home, Ishfaq’s wife Rafia, his four siblings, aged parents, and relatives were consoling each other. The family members had many questions about the circumstances that led to Ishfaq’s killing and the manner in which the police dealt with his body.
“It is a cold-blooded murder, in broad daylight. But the police have failed to file an FIR so far,” they said.
Ishfaq’s wife Rafia wept while her relatives and neighbours tried to console her. She spoke in hushed tones and sobs. Her head was propped up by one of the relatives with her hand while she lamented the loss of her husband.
“Ask the army men who killed my beloved what harm had he done them? Why did you kill him so ruthlessly? Was he a militant or was he carrying arms?” she asked the same questions repeatedly.
“I won’t take it so easily. I will block the road and won’t let anyone cross till I get justice,” she said.
She said her husband was killed by army men and that the army was going to kill every Kashmiri.
The wailing of the women gathered at Ishfaq’s house could be heard even from a distance. “He left home well-dressed, wearing a pheran. But his body was wheeled into his home in a shroud that was soaked in blood,” the women said.
Talking to Kashmir Reader at his home, relatives and family members recounted the events of Friday. “Ishfaq lives in a separate house with his wife. He married two years ago and was a carpenter by profession. He worked at his home all day. After finishing his work that day (Friday), he led the Magrib prayers at the local mosque and went out to get money from customers at Kanipora,” said Nazir Ahmad Ganie, his father.
“Kanipora is just 6 kilometers away from here. While returning home, he chose another link road to fetch groceries from a shop. When he was half a kilometer away from Chattergam, he was shot at by the army,” Nazir said.
He added that a local man, who works at the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Chattergam, called Ishfaq’s family and informed them that their son had been critically injured in a firing incident and has been referred to SMHS Srinagar.
Ishfaq’s cousin, Mohammed Younis Ganie, said, “We straight away boarded a vehicle and drove to Srinagar, but were stopped by army men who had laid a naka near Chattergam. It delayed our journey by half an hour. We finally reached there at around 8pm. After receiving treatment at SMHS, Ishfaq was shifted to SKIMS Soura at 8:30pm, where he was kept on ventilator in ICU ward for up to 1:30am.”
“At 12am, a police party headed by SHO Chadoora came to the hospital and took the doctors’ statement. They didn’t talk to any of the family members,” Younis said.
He added that the policemen left soon after.
“After he breathed his last at 1:30am, we called them (police). The SHO assured us that a police party will come there and take the body to the SDPO office at Pantha Chowk for post-mortem. However, we waited till 6 in the morning and no one came to us. Finally, we came home with the body to perform the last rites,” Younis said.
Till 4pm on Saturday, no FIR had been lodged by police in the incident. However, Ishfaq’s family members had been asked to bring two photos of the body and get their FIR registered.
“We demand a fair investigation and justice to the family,” people sitting at Ishafq’s home said.
Ishfaq’s father said he did not expect any justice. “Kashmir is a police state where justice has been buried decades ago by Indian armed men,” he said.
Army and police officials could not be contacted for their comment by the time this report was filed.