Anantnag: Each Ramazan since 2010 has been reminding the Parray family of old Eidgah locality in Anantnag town of the devastation brought about by pellet guns.
On the evening of August 30, 2010, as the summer uprising was raging on, police fired a cartridge containing scores of pellets at 13-year-old Irshad Ahmad Parray.
He succumbed en route to Srinagar, 55km away, due to multiple pellet injuries in the abdomen, chest and arms. A class 7 student, Irshad became the first casualty of the pellet guns in the Valley, which were introduced during the National Conference-Congress coalition government.
As many as 120 people were killed during the 2010 uprising.
“Policemen from Sherbagh police post resorted to intense teargas shelling on the protesters who were throwing stones. But they aimed a pellet gun at Irshad from a close range. He fell down and bled profusely,” said an eyewitness on the condition of anonymity as he fears reprisals.
“The police did not let us to pick him up for quite some time which resulted in heavy loss of blood,” he said.
Irshad’s killing, along with a few other killings, was investigated by a one-man committee of justice (retired) Makhan Lal Koul.
Koul’s report, accessed by Greater Kashmir, termed Irshad an “innocent victim” and stated that the “boy in no way could be expected a vocal factor for causing any damage to the police personnel or their property”.
Muhammad Ashraf, Irshad’s father, an auto rickshaw driver by profession, said, “It was the holy month of Ramzan and though he was not keeping well he woke up for Sehri (pre-dawn meals) and insisted that his he will fast.”
“Fearing Irshad might join the protests his mother locked him up in his room, but in the afternoon he went out by the window without any of us noticing it. He had put on new clothes and bathed,” he said.
Abdul Majeed, a neighbor of the Parrays’, said Irshad was “very shy, humble and pious” who offered prayers five times a day and “never tolerated any form of oppression”.
“Whenever he went out he would enquire from neighbours whether they needed anything from the market,” he said.