Anantnag: Liyaqat Ahmad Bhat, an army man, was at his place of posting in Shar Shali area of Khrew, on the outskirts of Srinagar, when he was informed that militants had attacked his home and shot dead his father and mother. His sister, too, had suffered bullet wounds and was in critical condition. Liyaqat’s wife and toddler daughter were also at home when the militants attacked.
Liyaqat reached home, in Hariparigam village in Awantipora police district, later in the night and held two back-to-back funerals for his parents early morning on Monday.
That was not the end of his agony, though. His 25-year-old sister, Rafia, succumbed to her wounds in the morning, after battling it out for more than 12 hours. Liyaqat had to return to the graveyard and hold another funeral for his sister.
Unidentified militants had barged into the Bhat home late Sunday night, when Liyaqat’s father Fayaz Ahmad (a policeman by profession), his mother Raja Begum, and his sister Rafia Jan were readying to retire for the night.
“His wife and toddler daughter were also in the house when the gunmen barged in,” a neighbour of the family told Kashmir Reader. The gunmen, police sources said, tried to fire at Fayaz but Raja and Rafia threw themselves at Fayaz in a bid to save him.
“The gunmen, however, did not relent and fired at all three of them. Bhat’s wife was kicked by the gunmen as she rushed to help,” the police source told Kashmir Reader. “They fled after shooting indiscriminately.”
The neighbours rushed to help and found Raja and Rafia slumped over Fayaz. “Fayaz had already died, while the two women were rushed to hospital,” the neighbour told Kashmir Reader.
Less than an hour later, Raja succumbed to her injuries as well.
“This is a catastrophe. The whole village is in a state of shock and disbelief,” the neighbour said. “Killings are not new to Kashmir, but every time we think we are beyond feeling shock at a killing, we are proven wrong.”
The neighbour, who did not want to be named, said that the village remained deserted on Monday as the fearful people did not venture out.
“They were really poor and now that their son had started working with the army, things seemed to get better for the family. Guess it was not to be,” the neighbour said. “They were decent people.”
On Monday morning, Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar visited the bereaved Liyaqat and condoled the killings of his family members. “This is an act of cowardice,” Kumar said.
Kumar said that policemen are always under threat for being on the frontline, but targeting their families was nothing short of cowardly.
Talking to the media, Kumar said that the Jaish-e-Muhammad was active in this area and intial inputs point towards the group’s involvement. “By appearance, it is said, they looked like foreign terrorists. We are on it and they will be neutralised soon,” Kumar said.
Police meanwhile have lodged an FIR and investigation has been initiated into the matter.