Mother dead, father in jail, Attai’s children struggle with grief and life all alone

Mother dead, father in jail, Attai’s children struggle with grief and life all alone

SRINAGAR: Life has fallen apart for Safoora and Azam, the two teenagers who lost their 50-year-old mother a week ago to pneumonia. For the duo, the irreparable loss has come at a time when their father, a senior Hurriyat leader associated with Syed Ali Geelani, remains jailed hundreds of miles away in Uttar Pradesh.
“I have come to a point in life where I don’t know what to do. I only remain immersed in pain. The departure of my mother, and the incarceration of my father, has left me destitute. I just can’t see any light ahead of me,” said Azam, a Class 9 student, while talking to Kashmir Reader.
Azam’s father Muhammad Yaseen Attai was among scores of leaders taken into custody last year on August 4, when Government of India scrapped the special status of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Attai remains in jail, with pleas for his release pending in courts.
While the son-daughter-mother trio was fighting for Attai’s release in courts, Attai’s wife, the anchor of the struggle, passed away after a brief illness. Azam said that his mother seemed to be physically well but suddenly felt breathless. Soon after, she was lying in hospital, attached to a ventilator, for 20 days until her death. Three repeated Covid-19 tests done on her all returned negative.
“I have suddenly become alone. I have to bear the pain while fighting for my father’s release. I am also thinking about earning a living. I myst continue my studies and give support to my sister. I don’t know how I can I do it. My father has to be with us now,” Azam said.

In the past one year of Attai’s incarceration, which has added to his many years of jail life, his family managed to meet him only once, that too for 20 minutes. Azam said his father seemed so changed they could not recognise him at first.

“Frail, numb, and in tears, that is how I remember my father when we saw him. We did not talk much, but it was since then that my mother began to sink into the sadness that consumed her. She would make us believe that everything was fine, even though nothing was, and at the same time she was battling depression. She could not even breathe,” Azam said.

“I pray to Allah to get my father back home. It will comfort me and he will tach me how to deal with life,” he added.

Attai was earning a livelihood as a property broker, Azam said, at the time of his arrest. There has been no source of income since his arrest, he added.

“All we have been surviving on is help from our relatives. Nothing else,” Attai’s son said

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