Anantnag/Islamabad: As the word about Bashir Lashkari and another militant being holed up in a house in the village during cordon and search operation by government forces spread in the wee hours on Saturday, Tahira Begum who was fasting ventured out to “rescue” militants but was shot dead by the forces.
Tahira, 40, is survived by her husband Abdul Rashid Chopan, a gardener in floriculture department, and her three little kids. Her elder son Zahid, 17, is a school dropout, while her younger son Imran, 14, and daughter Mehak, 12, are studying at a local Darul-uloom.
“She was a pious lady and used to fast even after the month of Ramzan,” her neighbours said, adding that it was her sixth Roza of Shawal (month following Ramzan).
They said she always remained engrossed in the household chores. “She had maintained her kitchen garden well and would often offer vegetables to us,” a village woman wailing over her death, said.
“She had dedicated her life to her family and her children. Who will take care of her kids now?” the neighbours asked.
Even as the police maintain that Tahira was “killed in cross-fire”, the locals reject it, saying she was “deliberately” targeted by the forces.
“The cordon was on but not a single shot was fired from either side, when forces aimed at Tahira,” locals alleged.
They said the bullet pierced her body and she fell into a pool of blood. She was shifted to District Hospital- Anantnag where doctors declared her bought dead.
“As the announcement about Bashir Lashkari and another militant trapped in one of the houses was made from a mosque loud speaker at around 6:30 AM, my wife came out even as I told her not to go. My son also accompanied her and after some time I also came out. As I was looking for them I learnt that Tahira had been shot at and was being ferried to hospital by the people,” says her husband.
He said after seeing her wife, “I thought she would survive but that did not happen.”
Tahira’s younger son couldn’t see the face of her mother before her burial, as he was out of home in Mati-Gauran-Kokernag, some 40 Kilometers from their native village Breenthi-Batpora- Dialgam.
“The phone service was down. But we somehow managed to contact him but he could reach home only late evening. By then we had laid her to rest,” says Tahira’s visibly shocked husband.
He said her daughter too was in Darul uloom at the time of incident but reached soon after the dead body reached home.