GABERPORA (Pulwama): Akeel Ahmad Baht, a 17-year-old student, was on Wednesday laid to rest at his ancestral village here in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. He was shot in his chest by government forces Tuesday afternoon following the killing of Abu Dujana.
Akeel’s family told Kashmir Reader that he was killed in cold blood. “There was no stone pelleting in the village. We were sitting near the road, when we saw two army vehicles on their way from Pulwama towards Shopian. We decided to move away from the road fearing reprisal. They still fired at us. Many of us escaped but Akeel was hit and was badly injured,” a friend who accompanied Akeel said.
Akeel’s maternal uncle said that Akeel was the lone bread earner of family as his father, Abdul Majeed Bhat, had died eight years back after a prolonged kidney ailment. “Akeel, besides his studies, worked in orchards after school and on holidays,” he said.
The family said they wanted justice, and a punishment to those “who killed Akeel in cold blood”. Masooda Jan (40), Akeel’s mother, is now left with two young kids – a daughter who studies in ninth standard and a boy who studies in 5th standard – to look after by herself.
The village’s former sarpanch, Manzoor Ahmad Paray, said that Akeel’s family has no land or business, and they are left with no source of income after the teenager’s death.
“He was a hard working lad. Huge responsibilities at a young age never let him get involved in stone throwing or protests. His death is a murder in a cold blood,” he added.
A muddy house with a small court yard itself depicts the story of the family’s poverty. Ironically, government forces laid a cordon around the house of the slain youth this afternoon. Youth from the village threw stones on the forces, who responded with pellet guns and tear smoke shells. Two of the protesting civilians were injured with pellets.
Superintendent of Pulwama, Chowdhary Aslam, said that a case has been registered in civilian killings after the encounter.