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November 16, 2021 11:30 pm

Srinagar Killings: ‘You Snatched Our Papa, At Least Return His Body’ 

Wailing daughters of Muhammad Altaf Bhat demand body of their father. KO Photos By Abid Bhat

Srinagar: After the nightlong mourning that pushed them to protest on the Barzulla bridge in sub-zero temperature for their father’s dead body, two daughters of Mohammad Altaf Bhat of Old Barzulla are still crying a river over their sudden enforced orphan hood.

While they are longing for their father, their brother, a Class II student, is silently watching mourners swarming their house.

Four persons were killed in a shootout, according to police, on Monday night in the high security Hyderpora quarter of the city. Among them was Altaf, the building owner.

After every 20 seconds, Altaf’s youngest daughter, Maisara, turns her head towards the main entrance in an apparent belief to see her father’s arrival.

“What was his fault?” she screams amid the mourners. “He was no militant. He was no associate of any militant. He wasn’t involved in any crime. He was just my papa….my dear papa.”

Inconsolable daughters of Altaf Bhat.

Amid Maisara’s wails, her elder sister couldn’t maintain her calm and broke down. Her cries, “Papa come back,” echo in the whole house.

“How could you [cops] do this to us? What’re we supposed to tell our younger brother who has no knowledge about his father’s death,” she asks, surrounded by the mourning women.

A sudden arrival of Altaf’s son in the mourner’s room pitched these wails. “When is he coming back home?” Ibaad asks, innocently, amid the wails in his house.

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Some five miles from this mourning household of old Barzulla, another family in Kanipora is trying to come to terms with their doctor son’s death.

His entire family had gone to the Police Control Room for his body but they were denied on the grounds that it will create a “law and problem”. To press their demand, they even registered a protest in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. It didn’t help.

Family members of Dr. Mudasir Gul weep while demanding his body be handed over for burial in Srinagar.

As the fourth casualty in the Hyderpora “encounter”, Dr. Mudasir Gul, as per police, was an alleged militant associate and was involved in harbouring militants. His IT solutions shop has been termed as a “high-tech hideout” by police.

However, in January next year, Mudasir was supposed to inaugurate his IT setup in the form of a Call Centre, in the same building where he was killed.

“He was very much interested in business and his father always encouraged him,” one of his uncles said.“He was doing absolutely fine as a builder and had planned to open a call-centre for a better profit.”

Unaware of his orphan hood, Gul’s seven-year-old son, Kabeer, playfully roamed around the house demanding mourners, “Let’s play, till the baba returns home.”

Dr. Mudasir’s family protesting in Press Colony demanding his body.

“My brother has nothing to do with militancy,” Dr. Mudasir’s brother, Muzammil shrieks before a swarm of mourners try to calm him down.

“He was innocent. Please, give me back his body. I don’t want anything else, I just want to kiss his face one last time.”

Altaf’s orphan daughters.

At Barzulla, the two daughters are still calling their “Papa” home.

“He was our hope and support,” Maisara says. “They snatched him alive from us, but now they should at least return him dead to us.”

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Zaid Bin Shabir

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