‘He Was Fighting For His Family’s Survival’

Umer’s family mourning his killing. Photo Courtesy, Faizan Mir.

IN the last 24 hours, Umer Nazir Bhat’s brother has torn his three shirts in despair and distress.

The shattering act ceased when a relative gave him his slain sibling’s T-shirt.

“The whole family was dependent on Umer,” the family relative said. “I don’t know how they will survive now!”

On Wednesday evening, Umer, 28, was shot inside his mobile shop in Srinagar’s Habba Kadal area. He was immediately rushed to SMHS Hospital where the doctor declared him brought dead.

Following the incident, police registered a case under relevant sections of law. It was the third killing from the past week in Srinagar city.

“Despite assurances by the government, sadly the killings of civilians have not stopped. It is concerning and needs immediate focus. JKNC condemns the barbaric killing of a local shopkeeper in Srinagar. A through time bound investigation must unmask the killers,” National Conference said on Twitter.

A day after, in a rented accommodation in Zaldagar area of Srinagar, Umer’s old father, Nazir Bhat is endlessly looking at the front door waiting for his dead son to return home.

“What was his mistake,” the father wondered and wailed. “He was a noble son fighting for his family’s survival.”

For the past eight months, Umer had been running a mobile phone shop near Chinkral Mohalla of Habba Kadal. His father who had been working as a daily-wager had to give up on his job when diabetes rendered him immobile.

Umer’s mother was working as a helper at various commercial offices and homes but the recent deadlier wave of the Covid-19 had left her jobless.

“Umer single-handedly saved his family from collapsing when the pandemic hit Kashmir,” Afaan Feroz, Umer’s cousin, said. “He revived the meagre condition of his home.”

After last year’s pandemic lockdown, Umer had decided to set up a mobile business. “He was tirelessly earning for his family’s better future,” Afaan said.

Even though Umer wasn’t making a huge profit, he was content with the small profit that aided his family’s existence.

“But last evening, his family’s hopes were shattered,” the cousin lamented. “Just look at his father, mother and brother! What will become of them now?”

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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