Bandipora (Owais Farooqi): Shahzad Dilawar Sofi, the 30-year-old policeman who was killed in Srinagar on Thursday after suspected militants opened fire on police, was laid to rest in his native village of Ashtengoo, Bandipora, amid massive pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, right besides Naseer Ahmad Sheikh, the youth killed in firing by government troops at Srinagar’s Rangreth on Thursday evening.
According to Shahzad’s friends, he was a man of “unique character”. Married in 2014, Shahzad at numerous occasions had decided to leave the police, but his friends kept advising him against it.
“In 2016 he decided to quit the services, but we motivated him to remain in the services till he finds another good option,” Javid Ahmad, his colleague, said.
Other colleagues of his said that on the day of the parliamentary by-poll in Budgam on April 9, Shahzad refused to use a gun on protesters there.
A science graduate from a degree college in Sopore, Shahzad was played as an opener for the local cricket team ‘Young Boys Club’. He was the favourite of most of his team mates.
Shahzad is survived by three married sisters, a brother, his mother, his wife, and his 7-month-old twin boys, Saddam and Shaidan.
A while before he was shot at about 9pm on Thursday, Shahzad had called home and talked to his mother. He told her that he was doing Iftar at the time and would call back after finishing it. He had also talked to his wife, Nahida, in the morning. “He told me, ‘I am on duty’,” Nahida said.
His colleague and friend Javid Hassan shared that Shahzad was a die-hard cricket buff, and was coming home on Friday. “He told us that we would watch the India-Pakistan match together at home,” Javed said.
Shahzad’s body was received at home with tears. Local youth wailed over his dead body and villagers jostled to have a last glimpse of his face. Women sang eulogies and some men and women even fainted when the body was being taken for last rites.
The principal of the school where Shahzad studied described him as a “noble and pious man.”
The villagers said that for them Shahzad was a martyr just like Naseer, who lived only a couple of blocks away.
The back-to-back funerals witnessed the same slogans, tears and tributes paid to both the men.
At Naseer’s funeral, people shouted “Shahzad, your blood will bring revolution” and at Shahzad’s funeral, “Shahzad, your blood will bring revolution.” Villagers said that “both were sons of the soil who were martyred in the vicious game of blood.”
Shahzad was buried beside Naseer in the martyrs’ graveyard of Ashtengoo village.

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