Budgam: Before June 11, Muhammad Ramzan Mir had been making preparations for the marriage of the second of his six daughters. The wedding is scheduled after Eid-ul-Adha, in August. But on June 11, his one-storey house was blown up with explosives by the government forces. The gloom spread by the homelessness has completely drowned the gaiety of pre-wedding preparations.
Ramzan, his wife and the daughters are putting up in a tent outside the burnt down house, which, because of a fresh coat of paint, had stood apart from the rest of the houses in the village before the forces blew it up.
“Everything is finished now. I don’t know how my father will start life afresh from here,” said Mir’s eldest daughter as tears welled up in her eyes.
She said the sisters had shopped for days to buy the would-be-bride her trousseau and jewelry.
“Everything perished,” she said, pointing to the bullet-riddled and burnt cupboards.
Recalling the events on June 11, the family said the dusk had just set in when three militants came to the house and asked for water.
“Within hardly 10 minutes the forces surrounded the house. The forces asked us to leave. We pleaded with them to let us take sister’s belongings only but they didn’t let us,” said Ramzan’s youngest daughter.
The sisters embroider Pashmina shawls to earn their livelihood. According to the villagers, Mir’s daughters had recently received a fresh consignment of shawls worth over Rs 5 lakh.
“He couldn’t even save those shawls,” said Muhammad Rafiq, a villager, picking up burnt remains of a Pashmina shawl from a tin trunk perforated by bullets.
On June 11, after the encounter, police issued a statement saying the militants were asked to “surrender through their family members, but they declined”. The army also said the militants were given “ample opportunity to surrender”.
However, both the villagers and Mir family said they “didn’t hear” forces making any offer of surrender to the militants to surrender before the final assault on the morning of June 12.
One of the militants killed during the encounter was Sajad Ahmad Gilkar from Nowhatta in Srinagar. His younger brother Murtaza Gilkar said, “We didn’t receive any such call from police or anybody else.”