Story of 3 youngest victims of Indian state terrorism in IOK

Srinagar, October 30, 2016 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, among over 100 people who fell victim to Indian state terrorism during the past over three-month uprising, Nasir Shafi Qazi, 11, Danish Sultan Haroo, 12 and Junaid Ahmad, 13, are the youngest victims.

As leaders debate about conducting school exams in the valley, families of children killed in the civil unrest feel justice is elusive. The daily Hindustan Times visited the families to understand how they are coming to terms with the loss.

‘Topic: Democracy, Lesson No 1’: The first page of Junaid’s ‘civics’ class notebook pronounces boldly. In the next few pages, the Class 7 student – who was killed after being hit by pellets on October 7 – had written answers in a flowing cursive hand to questions on democracy. “What is a democratic society? A democratic society is one in which there is no discrimination…”

The family said Junaid was standing with his mother at the gate of their house when he was hit. At their home in Saidpora area in Srinagar, Junaid’s family and relatives keep back their tears and recount the “cricket and volleyball loving” youngest member of the family.

“The grief cannot be expressed in words. When my mom sleeps at night, she feels Junaid is lying on her left side, as usual. My father does not speak much after the incident,” Iqra Gul, Junaid eldest sister and a Class 11 student, said.

Junaid’s mother sits still in a corner silently, her face expressionless. His father Ghulam Mohammad takes out his son’s school bag from a cupboard.

Nasir’s brother Mohammad Mansoor Shafi, 26, a salesman at a Kashmiri handicraft shop, had bought a ‘Messi’ T-shirt and football shoes for his brother on Eid. He was ‘good in studies’ too and his social sciences notebook also had, in a cursive hand, notes on Indian democracy.

Nasir had gone missing soon after locals clashed with forces in the area in the evening and locals started searching for him. They found his body in a nearby jungle, beside a stream, with multiple pellet injuries, and a broken arm and marks that hinted at being forcefully hit.

The family, with many unanswered questions regarding the circumstances of the death, says he was not a stone-pelter but was caught in the commotion in the area during the clash.

Mansoor said that in these times of utter grief, Islam is the only crutch. Danish was killed after he jumped into the Jhelum to escape from forces during a clash on September 1.

Danish’s family believes he was not pelting stones and was innocent. Police said Danish drowned, but the family says that forces personnel threw pieces of brick at the four boys who had jumped into the water.

“Danish was hit in the head and hence could not swim. Otherwise, he was a good swimmer and could have swum across. The other three boys swam and were saved,” Danish’s father Mohammad Sultan Haroo said. According to Danish’s uncle Nazir Ahmad, heart-related problems of Sultan have worsened after his son’s death.

Danish’s elder brother Aqib, a Class 9 student, said he feels lonely with his companion gone. The 7-year-old younger brother Furqan hides behind their father if you ask him about his dead sibling.

The reporter asked what Danish’s mother Hazra thinks of her son’s death. She doesn’t answer and Sultan butts in. “All she says whenever she speaks is that the killers of her innocent son should be punished.”

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
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