How Kitchen Blast Consumed Family Dinner, Daughter in Handwara

A man at the blast site.

At the dinnertime when a mysterious blast went off in one of the homes in Handwara hamlet, it left behind a pile of bleeding bodies and a question: ‘What triggered the blast?’

HOURS after sundown on 16 September 2021, Aadil Wani ambled towards home after hanging out with his friends in the village souk. He was in jolly mood and looking forward to have a dinner with his family. They had already huddled around Dastarkhawn and were calling him home for the last shared-meal of the day.

But he had no hunch that he would be soon attending a massive crisis created by a mysterious blast in his family kitchen.

Unlike his routine homecomings, he was rattled by the blast at his doorsteps. Before a brief brain-fade moment numbed him, he had seen an orange fire ball emanating from his kitchen. After regaining his posture, he ran inside.

In the darkness which had to be driven out by his cellphone torch, he spotted something that skipped his heartbeat.

The family members were having dinner at the time of blast.

He yelled as his kid-sister lying in a pool of blood, but there was no response.

“I took her in my arms and rushed her to the hospital within no time,” Aadil told Kashmir Observer.

“I was desperately praying for her recovery, but she had bled profusely and couldn’t survive.”

Saying this, Aadil wept bitterly over what he called a rudest shock of his life.

A Humanities student, his seventeen-year-old sibling, Shabnum was the “brightest student and the most caring person” he had known.

“I had never imagined that she would die in-front of me,” Aadil sobs. “I was helpless and couldn’t even console her for the last time.”

The blast triggered by some mysterious substance left the family members in a pool of blood.

What happened at Handwara’s Tarapora area at the twilight of Thursday might well be a case of a cryptic blast triggered by some ‘scrap’ explosive—the fatal sounds of which are quite familiar in Kashmir—but the devastated scenes, many say, make it Kashmir’s “regularized ruin”.

As voiced by one of the witnesses, the blast which police is saying “took place in scrap materials consisting of unexplored shell and grenade” had left behind the war-torn scenes.

“The scene at the house was horrible,” recalls Mohammad Yaseen, a neighbour who rushed to the Wani house soon after the blast.

“The food was scattered and the utensils in the kitchen were dotted with holes. The floor was awash with blood, while the blast-rattled comatose bodies were strewn all over the room.”

The blast bored holes in the kitchen utensils.

When Yaseen and other neighbours took the blast victims to the hospital, Aadil was already mourning over his dead sibling’s body. He was shocked to see his other family members being admitted in grievous injured state.

“I had no idea that my other family members were also injured in the blast,” Aadil, struggling for words, says. “I was grappling with many emotions in one go and took time to make sense of the things.”

With her family members admitted in different hospitals for treatment, Aadil was told that during his family dinner on September 16, the blast rocked the house soon after the electricity went off.

“They don’t know how it happened,” he says.

The family could not finish their dinner.

Apart from claiming the life of his minor sister, the blast injured his six family members including his father Ghulam Muhammad Wani and mother Raja Begum. They’re undergoing treatment in district and Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.

Aadil’s father was discharged on Friday morning but his whole body is wrapped with bandages.

“He’s not able to sip a drop of water,” Mohammad Iqbal Wani, Aadil’s uncle told Kashmir Observer.

Ye gow kahar (This is a disaster).”

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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