Gripped with deadly silence, the people of Shopian woke up to another dawn of morning, when gunshots reverberated through the air, creating panic among the locals, soon the mobile internet was snapped indicating to the locals that an encounter had raged.
Mourning and bullets are not new to Sugan in Shopian, the area is used to curbs, cages confinements, Post Pulwama attack- Locals say it has become difficult for them to openly roam on the streets. “We are thrashed, beaten and caught, arrested on the streets without any reason after the Pulwama attack happened.” The area is the native of many slain Militants including the top slain commander, Zeenat ul Islam.
A Police official told The Kashmiriyat that 44 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army, Jammu Kashmir Police and CRPF jointly laid a siege over the Dragad wasteland in Sugan area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district and at around 4 Am, an encounter had started when the hiding militants attacked the Government Force personnel.
By 10 AM- Three dead bodies were recovered from the site of the encounter, one of them identified as a civilian, two others killed in the encounter were identified as Abid Manzoor Magray alias Sajju Tiger resident Nowpora Pulwama, Bilal Ahmad Bhat of Urmulla Lassipora Pulwama.
The civilian who was killed during the encounter was identified as 24 year old Jasim Ahmed Shah son of Abdul Rahid Shah, a resident of Mal Nard Shopian- Native of Zeenat ul Islam, Jasim as per his family was missing since yesterday afternoon.
“We do not know where he was, we tried to look around for him, but could not and hours later we heard that Jasim had been killed in the encounter in the nearby Dragad area,” his cousin told The Kashmiriyat.
A famous cricketer of Sugan area, he was popularly known as Ab De velliers in his native, as he was a wicket keeper cum batsman. His love for cricket was so intense that he skipped college most of the days to be able to watch cricket matches, his cousin said.
Remorse and grief have taken a toll on the local populace in the valley as bloodshed continues to remain a daily happening. More than 100 Militants, mostly locals have been killed during various gunfights that took place between Militants and Government Forces in various parts of the valley.
The family of Jasim Ahmed Shah is not able to cope up with the loss, the death of their son, who had left home a few hours ago and was trapped hours later with two Hizb ul Mujahideen Militants, a few miles away from his home.
He was very courageous and bold, his cousin said, adding, “he was never involved in stone throwing, neither did his name appear in any Police station, nor was he summoned to any Army camp.”
A few metres away from where thousands of people have gathered to attend his funeral, his mother is wailing the loss, “My Dear son, were you in pain, when the bullet hit you? My jasif Beloved, did you want water when you were shot?” she shouts as other women from the locality rush to console her.
Deaths followed by massive funerals attended by thousands of people has sadly become the new normal in Kashmir marred by internet gags and curbs on media outlets from Kashmir. “Where peaceful dissent finds no space, people are forced to take to extremes to pursue the path of truth,” Fayaz Ahmed, a labourer and a participant of the funeral of Jasif told The Kashmiriyat.
Fayaz feels that there is an urgent need for all Kashmiris to work to stop the bloodshed. ‘’Either all of us should pick up the gun or else everyone has a right to live his life,” he said. He thinks that some of people cannot be enjoying the privileges while others are giving their lives for us.
Another teenaged boy, Asif Ahmed, a participant in the funeral thinks that the social media sermons must stop. “The people celebrating the death of some of the Kashmiris should stop because only a mother knows what it takes to loose a son.”
He says he knew Jasif very closely and he has had a great impact on his life. “he too wanted to live, but the daily deaths and bloodshed made him angry and aghast forcing him to take a certain path.” He says that Jasif used to say, “I am not a human, if I do not feel the pain f other humans.”
Since July 2016, hundreds of young Kashmiri boys have taken to Militancy, which experts believe is due to the growing insecurity among Kashmiris in general with the growth of BJP and their rise to power.
Jasif, a known cricketer from his area is survived by a sister, two brothers and his old aged parents, he was pursuing Bachelors in Arts from Government Degree College Pulwama.