Aaqib Naik

Shopian aftermath: Our shield was used as human shield: Family of Thokar

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Shopian, Apr 02: It is just screams and wails that rent airs beyond the deserted markets and barren fields in Shopian’s Dragad Sugan village where an innocent civilian became expendable when Army troops allegedly used him as human-shield in their operation against seven militants on Sunday night.

The killing of civilian Mushtaq Ahmad Thokar in this  apple-growing region has triggered a fresh wave of mourning, with screams and wails of his family members blaming the “tyranny of forces” for taking away their “only shield”.

Mushtaq Ahmad, a farmer, was lone support for his family. Nobody would have expected the kind of death he met – a lantern in his hand and a hail of bullets piercing his body.

And what is still more tragic is that he was forced into this brutal end by the Army troops, says his inconsolable wife Reqeeba Bano.

Besides Raqeeba, Mushtaq has left behind two minor twins —  Hadi Mushtaq and Lubna Mushtaq  (Both 10)– still in a primary school, and elderly parents, including a mother who is without eyesight.

Narrating the circumstances which brought tragedy to her family, Raqeba says on the night of April 01, there was a knock at their door, which they ignored first but then as it grew ceaselessly louder, her husband Mushtaq opened the door and saw a group of Army troops, who took him with them forcibly after searching their house as well.

Raqeeba says she pleaded with Army-men to leave her husband, but they forced her to stay inside and took away Mushtaq, who also took a lantern in his hand.

“Around 3 am, we heard some gun-shots and suddenly the firing become heavy. Around 7 am, Army again came to our home and I asked them about my husband. She said he was safe and asked us to leave the home. I took Mushtaq’s ailing parents and my kids to nearby relative’s house,” she recalls.

“Later on  I came to know that my husband has been killed and our house was also damaged without any reason,” she says adding that her husband was used as a “human-shield”.

“This open brutality; they took away my shield …” she wails.

“How they can do it to me? How they can kill an innocent? How would I survive now with his twins who are asking for their father?”

Mushtaq’s father, perhaps in his 90’s said with a broken voice: “Mushtaq was the lone hope for us. His mother is without eyesight, and is asking continuously about Mushtaq….”

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