Kulgam: Where it was a moment of joy and celebration for parents whose children cleared class 10th examination on Saturday, there was pain and despair for Bhat family in Balsoo village of Yaripora in southern Kashmiri Kulgam district, who have lost their son even before he could be a matriculate.
The family living in penury provided best possible education to their children despite all odds and had waited for this moment all along their life.
Nouman Ashraf, 14, the eldest among the three sons of the woodcutter father did not let his parents down and successfully cleared the exam securing 284 marks. However, he lies buried in the graveyard situated barely 200 meters from his house.
His father Ashraf Bhat visited the grave of his son and broke down: “Oh my son wake up. You have passed the 10th standard. Your mother is waiting at home with candies and almonds,” Bhat is heard as saying with eyes moist.
Nouman was killed by government forces during protests near an encounter site in Batigund-Kaprin village in Shopian district on November 25. Six Hizb ul-Mujahideen militants were killed in the encounter that day.
As soon as the news came in that the most wanted militant of the area Umar Majid Ganai was holed up in a village in Shopian, Noman had left his home in the wee hours riding his motor-bike amid biting cold.
He travelled some 30 Kilometers to reach the spot where in a house several militants were trapped. Many civilians had already gathered there and were making desperate attempts to help the holed up militants escape.
The government forces fired live ammunition on them to keep them the protesters at bay. Many sustained injuries and among them was Nouman who later succumbed at the hospital.
Umar was the most wanted militant of the area and had built a huge youth following. “My son’s phone was full of the photographs of Umar,” says Bhat.
He said that as soon as he learned that Umar was surrounded by the forces he grew restless and left home.
“With limited resources my son studied in the government school and though not a hard working, was good in studies,” says Bhat.
“Every time his mother would insist him to give some time to studies he would reply by giving a smile.”