It is said that the biggest tragedy that can ever befall a man is to shoulder the coffin of his son. But for Nazir Ahmad Ganai of Jamia Masjid in the south Kashmir town of Shopian, it is something he has been through thrice.
A few years ago, Ganai had shouldered the coffins of his two elder sons. And, with the death of his youngest son, Sajad Ahmad, on Friday, he shouldered yet another.
Sajjad Ahmad Ganai, 20, was killed allegedly by the special operations group of the state police near Jamia Masjid, when massive protests against police and CRPF excesses, had rocked the area. After the death of his two elder brothers, Sajjad was the only son and support of his parents in their old age. He used to sell the produce of his orchard in a nearby fruit market.
“On the fateful day, Sajjad came back home from work; had a bath and came out to offer Friday prayers. As soon as the prayers ended, peaceful protests started near Jamia Masjid. Sajjad came out of the Masjid and, following the usual tradition, went to the nearby graveyard to offer “Fateh” at his eldest brother’s grave. While he was offering prayers at his brother’s grave, police started firing indiscriminately on protesters. He had just come out of the graveyard when a bullet pierced through his abdomen and left him in a pool of blood,” his family members told Greater Kashmir.
According to eyewitnesses, many people vainly pleaded with a police officer present on the spot to provide them vehicle so that they could shift Sajjad to the hospital. “While the police denied the humanitarian assistance, Sajjad lost blood profusely and succumbed there,” they said.
They said Sajjad didn’t take part in the protests but the police personnel target fired on him. “He was killed in a cold blood,” they alleged.
Sajad was the lone bread earner of his family. His father had retied from government service two years ago.
In March 2003, Sajjad’s elder brother, Naseer Ahmad Ganai, was arrested by the SOG from his residence. “Naseer used to teach Qur’an in a local darsgah and his only crime was that he had a beard and a cap on his head,” his family members said. Naseer was killed by the troops in custody.
Hilal Ahmad Ganai, who was the eldest of brothers, could not bear the loss of his brother’s death and developed heart ailment. He died of cardiac arrest a few months after Naseer’s “custodial” death. The family, which has received shock after shock, is now left without the prop of those who were supposed to support it.
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