Srinagar,(Towseef Ahmad) July 31: Try as he might, Mehmood-ul-Hassan Farooqui can’t forget what he saw 21 years before; the bullet ridden bodies of his two teenage sons and that too, a day after they were shot dead by Border Security Forces.
It was 1992 when armed rebellion had erupted in Kashmir and militants struck a BSF convoy in Lal Bazar area killing one and injuring six others, few meters away from Farooqui’s house.
Farooqui remembers July 31 (Friday), when he went to Hazratbal shrine to offer congregational prayers. He would have returned home the same day but since the militant attack had infuriated BSF men, he stayed out for that night.
“Nobody was walking on the streets, no transport, no humans, as if curfew was imposed in the area. I started walking towards home but people stopped me saying that the situation is bad,” Farooqui told Rising Kashmir on the death anniversary of his sons.
Next day on his return, he saw people staring at him with and a strange silence had fallen the area he lives in.
He had heard about the death of ‘somebody’ in his locality and had decided to join the funeral prayers.
“But people were looking towards me in a very different manner which I was not able to decode at that time,” he said.
Then he saw a large gathering outside his house. “I was shocked to realize that people were preparing for the funeral of my family members. My two daughters and my wife were broken. My two teenage sons had been shot dead by BSF, one after other,” he said.
Farooqui said the militants had attacked the BSF convoy killing one of their men and injuring others, few meters from his residence.
“Militants killed them but it was not the fault of our family. You know what they (troops) do after every such incident, they go on a rampage and destroy whatever comes their way,” he said.
After half an hour of the incident the BSF men entered the lane leading to the colony and knocked at the door of Faroouqi’s house. Sensing his father had returned Tajuddin Ahmad, his son, opened the door.
“As soon as Tajuddin opened door they emptied their guns. He breathed his last on the verandah. On hearing the gunshots my other family members came out. The troops dragged my other son Imtiyazuddin out of the house and fired indiscriminately on him and locked the gate from outside, leaving two bullet ridden bodies, one inside our house and other outside,” he says as he goes down the memory lane.
He said his two daughters were crying but their efforts proved helpless. “They tried to jump over the wall to bring my son’s body inside but couldn’t. They would have also killed me if I was not out of house. They still wait for my death to hush up the case, but couldn’t make it,” he said.
Tajuddin was 19 years old at that time while his other brother was 14 years old. Tajuddin was pursuing his Engineering degree in Bangalore and was on a vacation, while his younger brother had just appeared in eight class examination.
To make the matter worse their maternal grandfather also died the same day due to shock, after seeing the faces of two dead brothers. Stories like that (and there are many in Kashmir) haunt the families who have been waiting for justice for years.
“There are other cases where killers are free even after years, but the surviving family members deserve a thorough examination of the cases so that justice is done,” he said. “I am committed to doing everything within my power to bring the perpetrators to justice. I know this won’t bring my son’s back but at least the killers have to be punished for the dastardly crime they committed.”
Farooqui is living with his wife and two daughters have been married since. “There were many efforts from the government and BSF to hush up the case but I am not going to relent. They are waiting for my death but I believe even after my death justice loving people will take my case forward for the sake of those who died and the living family members. My wife, who is witness to the killing of our sons, and me can’t forget the tragedy which happened in 1992. That changed our life forever,” he said.
He said the BSF had recorded statements at that time and justice was promised but all proved false.
“SSP at that came to my house and apologized and accepted that it is a murder and justice has to be done. At some point it was said that they have been held guilty. But even after 23 years almost, justice eludes my family. I had approached Human rights groups, GoI and other bureaucrats but nothing fruitful came out,” he said.
“I don’t know what had happened to the case. Some officials told me that some people were punished but I don’t know, whether they were jailed, killed, hanged?” the unanswered question whose answer Farooqui wants to know.
“I have a right to know the answer. I want the killers of my two sons be given a strict punishment,” he said.-RK