After one year, residing in Buchwara, Dalgate, Shahzada, says, “With him, everything is gone. His dream to see his younger sister in the black coat, and as a bride; all gone.” She takes a sigh, and continues, “They (forces) didn’t only kill Qaiser; they killed everything he dreamt of providing his orphan sisters.”
Last year, on 1 June, around half a thousand protestors had assembled outside the historic Jamia Masjid in Downtown, Srinagar, after the Friday prayers to protest the against the events on the Friday prior to it; constituting a vicious circle of Fridays and the forces’ action leading to regular fierce clashes in Downtown.
For many—forces and protestors alike—it was just another Friday. Though, within a minute, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) vehicle, rushing from the Khanyar direction, rammed into the bubble of protestors assembled at the crossroads. As it happened, within a minute, the speeding vehicle rushed into the bubble, dispersing young boys threw everything and anything they go their hand onto—noise of a few cracking bones—and the vehicle disappeared.
The government forces’ vehicle mowed at least three people. Soon, a photo went viral, and social media mourners flooded in. As it happened, the guy in the picture survived, but a young 21-year-old boy, Qaiser Amin Bhat, ended up succumbing to his internal injuries in SKIMS Hospital, Soura at 11:30 pm.
As per his medical reports, he died due to a heart attack caused by grievous injuries to internal organs, fractured ribcage, and head injuries.
Mr. Bhat was all set to go to Dubai. He got his offer letter a few days before he was mowed by CRPF vehicle in the middle of the day in Downtown.
Mr. Bhat lost his mother to a disease in 2008, and father to a heart attack in the span of merely 3 months. Since the age of 12—leaving his Fateh Kadal residence—he, alongside his two young sisters, Iffat and Toiba, were living with their paternal aunt, Ms. Shahzada, in Dalgate.
Being aware of financial condition at aunt’s place, Mr. Bhat left his studies after completing high school and started a small business of Kashmir Art, producing shawls, curtains, and bags and selling to retail stores. In need of finances to fulfill the dreams of his young sisters, he had also applied for a job in an international chain of hotels, based in Dubai, UAE.
State Human Rights Commission had also issued a notice to Senior Superintendent of Police, seeking a detailed report about the incident.
Following the killing, police had registered two FIRs, one against the driver of the CRPF vehicle under section 279, for rash driving, and 337 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), and another against the ‘unidentified protesters’ was under Section 307 (attempt to murder), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149, 152, 336 and 427 of the RPC.
While, AP had quoted a police officer, anonymously, who had said, “It was a mistake.”
“After his (Qaiser) killing, his sisters were badly traumatized,” said his aunt while speaking over the call. “They didn’t eat properly for days and didn’t talk to anyone for months. They were suffering from intense trauma.”
“He wasn’t a stone pelter, and he wasn’t pelting stones when he was crushed,” believes Mr. Bhat’s aunt. “He went to Jamia Masjid for Friday prayers and told us that he got to meet his client afterward.”
It’s been one year, but the trauma of an untimely loss is still fresh and green for the family. Mr. Bhat’s body was brought to his native residence in Fateh Kadal. As per eye-witnesses, government forces fired tear gas shells on mourners. Scores of youth held the frontline, shielding Mr. Bhat’s body from being shelled and hit by the armed conflict. “At least let him have his funeral prayers,” an elderly guy had shouted.
In a brief moment of peace, forces backed off, boys fell back. As the sun shone hard on the top of the head, Mr. Bhat’s body, draped in the black flag, was put in the middle of the crossroad. A boy—shirtless—with blood oozing out from pellet injuries, halted his pain for the funeral prayers.
By the time a round of funeral prayers ended, and his cousins, guarding Mr. Bhat in his final rites, cried over the loss, boys held the front again, and flying stones were repelled with more of tear gas and pellets.
His Kashmiri art business, that he had established, alongside his cousin, to temporarily support his sister, shut down with his killing.
As told by Ms. Shahzada, Joint Resistance Leader (JRL) leaders including JKLF chief Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq paid a visit to see Mr. Bhat’s sisters posthumously and offered some financial help for their future education. Though, his aunt refused to take that money, saying, “I had no daughter. Now, they are my daughters and I will fulfill all their needs and will take care of their future education as long as I am in this world,” told Ms. Shahzada.
Currently, Mr. Bhat’s aunt is taking care of his sisters, as he says, like her own daughters. His elder sister is currently pursuing Bachelors of Legislative Law, and on her way to fulfill her elder brother’s dream of seeing her in a black coat, as a famous and successful lawyer of Kashmir. While younger Ms. Iffat is pursuing her Bachelor in Arts from Women College, Srinagar.