By Fahad Shah
For eleven months, with sunken eyes, Rasheed was quiet. Sewed skull and pale skin was focus for the women sitting in the room. His frail body lay flat on the bed in a ten-by-ten feet room of his two storey house in Samboora, Pampore— 20 Kilometres from Srinagar. He could never moan of his bed sores which had come up on his thighs and back. Aim of a roller shutter workshop instead of the coppersmith shop faded off, when a bullet hit his head on August 5, 2010. After his long battle for life, Rasheed succumbed to his injuries at 7:30 am, 11 June, 2011.
In Coma, coppersmith Rasheed along with his family lived together with elder brother Ghulam Nabi Reshi. Ghulam is an employ with Sericulture department. Nine-year-old, Tabish Raheed alias Kushboo would stand near the bed, on which, his father Rasheed battled for his life in these months. Behind her, near the wall, are a plastic funnel and a jug along with a medicine box. This third grader at a local school is his first child from previous wife, Jameela who died of a Kidney failure. In 2005, Rasheed tied knot with Saara. Five-year-old LKG student, Moomin Rasheed, is their lone son. Rasheed’s parents had died years ago.
Last year, on 5 August, around 5 pm, Abdul Rasheed Reshi, 38, was at work in his shop along the roadside. The road slices the village and connects Srinagar with Pulwama. Under the shadow of a big Chinar tree, his shop faces a rain-water pond.
“Traffic was not moving on the road. Just some distance away from uncles’ shop, the road was blocked. Some vehicles of 183 Battalion B Coy of Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) stopped near the blockade,” reminisces Shabir Ahmad Reshi who was around his uncle, Rasheed’s shop that day.
“Some of the personnel disembarked from trucks. They started indiscriminate firing in air. This led to panic in the area. People on the roadside rushed for cover. Uncle too ran in opposite direction towards a nearby school for safety. He hid behind a brick wall. When the roaring guns stopped, Uncle looked for the presence of forces. As he eased his neck and head was visible to forces; near the edge of the wall, a bullet pierced into his skull. Next moment he was lying in the pool of blood on road,” Shabir says.
Around ten minutes later after Rasheed was hit, Shabir rushed to the rescue of his uncle accompanied by some villagers. Shabir says he covered his uncle’s bullet wound with his handkerchief. They brought him to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, Srinagar in a Maruti car.
“After examining him (Rasheed) in SMHS, he was referred to SKIMS. His head was operated in SKIMS and he was shifted to Intensive Care Unit ward,” says Shabir.
On 6 August 2010, when this reporter went to see injured at hospital, a doctor (name withheld on request) in the Intensive Care Unit ward of the SKIMS talked about Rasheed. He said, “We have operated on his head but there are still some bone parts inside his brain. We will see his condition for the next 24 hours and then decide on further treatment. Currently his condition is critical. We have put him on ventilator.”
The first casualty in the family knocked as a storm. They are silent and numb. When Rasheed was discharged from the hospital on 25 December 2010, he returned home with a plastic pipe inserted to his stomach. He could never move any of his body parts himself. He was unconscious throughout the period. Since then his wife, Saara fed him by pouring soups, milk, or tea through the funnel pipe. He was also given five meshed eggs a day.
“Monthly medicine charges are around 5000 rupees. Twice in a month we take him to nephrology department, SKIMS for check-up. We hire a Sumo on 1500 rupees charges per visit. Administration paid only for the first month expenditures. Since then we had a spending of more than fifty thousand rupees,” says Rasheed’s Brother Ghulam Nabi told The Kashmir Walla some days before Rahseed’s death.
The hospital injury report shows diagnosis as “fire arm injury on right side of head”. Nature of the injury in the report is scribbled as “grievous”. The findings of the report are “multiple compound fractures of right parietal temporal bones with brain matter pointing out of scalp opening”.
“I always hope he could recover. We wanted him back in health. He never responded to any light source or gestures,” says Rasheed’s wife, Saara.
On 4 January 2011, Muhammad Irshad, Suprintendent of Police, Awantipora had informed Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama about Rasheed’s case in a letter under number CRB/C-2/11/46. It says that: “Some unknown miscreants, after blocking the Samboora road attacked the troops of RPSF who were going to Kakapora.”
“They were travelling in their department vehicles. In self-defence, troops have fired in air, out of which one of the bullet incidentally hit to the head of the above (Abdul Rasheed Reshi) named individual. He was not associate of unruly mob at the very moment,” reads the undersigned letter.
However, Irshad also wrote that under FIR no. 146/2010 under sections 307, 148, 336, 341 RPC a case stands registered in police station Pampore and is under investigation.
Although, the family claims that no officer of the concerned police station came to their home for investigation. “Police did not file FIR at the time of incident. Instead they filed FIR of RPSF personnel’s who shot at Rasheed. After four months FIR was filed. It was not before the SP wrote to the DC, a police committee came here. They talked to every villager for his (Rasheed) involvements or character,” says Rasheed’s elder brother, Ghulam.
The only helping hand to Reshi’s, that too meagre, was from some pro-freedom leaders. Democratic Liberation Party, All Party Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz), Hurriyat (G), and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front reached out to the family. Among these pro-freedom groups, Democratic Liberation Party, All Party Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz), and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Party gave them 5000 rupees each. And Tehreek-i-Hurriyat of Syed Ali Shah Geelani also sent 10000 rupees to Rasheed’s family. There was only one help from the administration which was 10000 rupees compensation by Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama.
After this tragedy in the Reshi family none from the government has reached out to them. Not even their concerned member of legislative assembly, Zahoor Ahmed Mir of People’s Democratic Party. This village has been one of the major hubs of militants but now the calm has overtaken for years now. Some people do vote during elections. Though, when they are in need they have been abandoned.