Pulwama mourns killing of ‘humblest, most pious soul’

Pulwama mourns killing of ‘humblest, most pious soul’

Pulwama: 25-year-old Rayees Ahmad Dar led prayers at the local mosque in Dalipora Pulwama and taught children Quran in the evenings. “He was the son every parent would be proud of,” said a neighbour. “It is heart-wrenching that he has been snatched from his parents.”
Rayees was killed during Thursday’s gunfight in which three militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, including a Pakistani commander, were killed by government forces.
His brother, Younis, also sustained a firearm injury during the pre-dawn gunfight that took place at their house in Dalipora area of Pulwama district. Locals say the brothers were dragged out of their house by army men and pushed into the line of fire.
“They came scaling the walls of our house and asked my sons to come out and accompany them towards the place where the militants were. I pleaded and told them we were not permanent residents here and hardly knew anyone, but they did not listen and took them away,” said Jalal-ud-Din, father of Rayees.
Originally from Pakhrepora in Budgam district, the Dar family had some ancestral property in Dalipora, where Younis carried out his plywood business. The family kept shuttling between the two places and not many knew them in Dalipora. But most of the people Kashmir Reader talked to in Dalipora said Rayees was the “humblest, most pious soul”.
Rayees had an MBA degree from Islamia College in Srinagar. He was helping his brother with his plywood business in Pulwama.
On Friday, the Dar family went to Pakherpora in Budgam for Rayees’s burial, leaving behind an empty house at Dalipora and people mourning his killing.
“He has been cruelly snatched from his family and whatever the government says, the fact remains that he was used as a human shield, along with his brother, and killed in the process,” people in Dalipora said.
Army has refuted the allegations. Their spokesperson, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, called the allegations baseless. “We conduct our operations in a very professional manner and no such thing has taken place in Pulwama,” Kalia said.
Police said that Rayees was killed in cross fire.
A complete shutdown was observed across Pulwama district on Friday in protest against Rayees’s killing. Commercial establishments remained closed and there was no traffic on the roads.
There were reports of minor clashes from some parts of the district but overall an eerie calm prevailed in the area. Internet services remained curtailed in the district and train services were suspended for the day.