Srinagar (Shafaq Shah): On the first death anniversary of Nasir Ahmad Qazi, a 13-year-old school boy from Theed Harwan, a village on the Srinagar outskirts, the police had blocked all the ways leading to his home.
A police officer who was manning the streets said the police apprehended major protests
“They are mad boys. They will come out of holes and start protesting. We have to be careful,” he said.
The boys are sitting on shopfronts, waiting for other boys so that they can assemble and march on the streets.
“We want to mourn the death of Nasir (popularly known as Momin among his friends and family) by peacefully protesting in our area but if they (police) did anything mischievous then we are ready to fight it back,” said a group of youth who have Nasir’s photo as the wallpaper on their phone screens.
At Nasir’s home, sharbat is being offered to the people who have come to console the family on his first anniversary and many break down into tears when an elderly women said, “Nobody would refuse this sharbat because this sharbat has been made at a martyr’s home.”
On 16 September last year, Nasir, his father Mohammad Shafi Qazi, said had to attend a wedding. He went to prayers before he could go for the wedding.
“We were waiting for him at home but when he didn’t come till 7 in the evening we started searching for him,” Qazi said.
After three hours of searching, when the family didn’t find their son, they asked the imam of the local mosque to make an announcement from the mosque loudspeaker.
At nine in the evening, the police told the family that a bear had killed their son at a water reservoir near the Dachigam National Park.
But it dawned upon the people, who were now gathering in huge numbers, that the schoolboy had died of pellet wounds and severe beating.
“His arms had turned pale by repeated beating and his body had numerous pellet wounds. After firing pellets at him they had taken him into a vehicle and beaten him up that caused his death. We learnt this later,” Qazi said. In fact, the people did not bury Nasir until the following morning as they waited for the media so that his pellet-riddled body could be photographed to “nail the police lie”.
The family neither filed a complaint with the police nor went to any government official for help.
“Since the 90s people have been dying, disappearing in police custody but no one has got justice. In 2010, lots of young boys died but did they get any justice? We have left everything to God and God will punish the culprits,” said Tajala, 23, Nasir’s sister, adding, “We can’t trust police and their investigation.”