Tral: A widow saw her home being reduced to rubble, and could only lament that there was no militant in her house and that the government forces, despite her repeated pleas, kept bombarding the house.
Her minor son, 13-year-old Faisal Mir, is also in police custody since yesterday (Saturday) and has not been allowed to meet his family.
Government forces cordoned off a neighbourhood in Aripal area of Tral early Saturday morning and, soon after, a gunfight began, “with a lone militant hiding in the house,” a police officer said.
A paramilitary CRPF soldier was injured in the gunfight. After several hours of exchange of gunfire, government forces blasted the house with explosives. When it was reduced to rubble, they were unable to find a body underneath.
The operation was called off late Saturday night after through searches in the area yielded nothing.
Today, Mehmooda Akhtar, the owner of the house, claimed that there was no militant present in her house. Mehmooda is a widow, since the past ten years now, and has been living with her three kids in the house.
“The house was the only thing I had. I live in abject poverty and penury. What am I going to do now?” Mehmooda asked, amid sobs and tears.
Recounting the ordeal, Mehmooda said that one among the government forces’ personnel entered her house and fired a few shots at the tin roof of her house.
“Within seconds he ran out and joined the other forces’ personnel. They kept firing at my house and bombarding it, pretending there was a militant inside,” she said.
She said that she kept pleading with the officials on the spot and kept telling them that there was no one inside.
“They made me swear on the Masjid and threatened me that my son will be taken away if there actually happened to be a militant in my house. I kept assuring them,” she said.
Mehmooda lamented that the forces took away her son despite the fact that there was no militant present in her house.
“They have destroyed my house and now have taken away my son. I have not seen my son since yesterday. They have not allowed me to even meet him,” Mehmooda said.
Kashmir Reader talked to SSP Awantipora Zahid Malik regarding the allegations levelled by Mehmooda. He questioned, “How was a CRPF jawan injured if there was no militant inside?”
He added that Mehmooda’s son has confirmed that there was a militant in their house.
He said that Faisal was “in custody for questioning.”