Sherfun Nisa/ Aaqib Naik

From ‘Baraat’ to ‘graveyard’, Khudwani reveals another story!

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Kulgam/Shopian, Apr 12: As the fate had it -- those who were preparing to accompany his ‘Baraat’ ended up carrying him to the grave instead!

This is the sad story of 25-years-old Sarjeel Ahmad Sheikh, a civilian who was to get married in next few days, but got killed in what the police statement termed as ‘cross-fire’, when he had went out of his friend’s house to use bathroom early Wednesday morning in Khudwani area of Kulgam district.

Locals told ‘Kashmir Images’ that Sarjeel was living a “wanderer’s life” since the day police had lodged FIR against him. “He would hardly spend a night at home; and that ultimately became the reason of his death,” they said.

“On Tuesday night, Sarjeel was at his friend’s home. Wednesday morning around 7:30 am, he came out to use washroom, which lies in the front yard of the house. He was shot in the abdomen near the washroom -- in the shooting even the door of the washroom also received some bullets,” said a neighbour.

“Sarjeel was not caught in cross-firing. Bullets were mercilessly showered upon him. One can clearly see both the encounter place and the place where Sarjeel was shot at are in two different directions,” locals claimed.

Local residents also accuse government forces of not letting them take Sarjeel to the hospital when he was shot. They believe “he would have survived had the army allowed them to take him to hospital in time.”

Sarjeel was scheduled to marry his sister’s sister-in-law at Kullar Anantnag on April 15.

His killing has not only left his family and friends devastated, but the entire neighbourhood is in a state of shock.

The atmosphere at Bilal Tantray’s home at Kujar-Yaripora is no different than that of Sarjeel’s.

Bilal, a 16-year-old boy was also hit by bullet after clashes erupted at encounter site in Khudwani.

Bilal’s father, Nazir Ahmad Tantray is not able to come in terms with his loss. Nazir, a driver by profession,  says he had dropped his son at his in-laws’ place at Mishpora Kudwani for studies.

He was a class 12th student at Government Higher Secondary School at Qaimoh, and certainly the only hope of his broken parents.

On Thursday, people once again assembled at the encounter site, to bemoan the destruction of four lives and three houses of Wani Mohalla at Khudwani. Locals were also seen collecting money for the reconstruction of houses damaged in the encounter.

The killing of another civilian – 14 years-old Fazil Allai, has also brought unbearable pain to his family.

A Class 9 student, Fazil was killed at Khudwani also fell to the bullets of government forces near the encounter site.

His father Ghulam Mohammad Allai says they were not aware about his death until his body came to their home – hit by two bullets, one in the neck and other in his pelvis.

“We did not know that Fazil had gone to the encounter site to join the protesters, because he never went to protests or clashes earlier,” the father said.

“Fazil was in the school uniform when he left home and told us to set up a funeral area for him as he has to attain martyrdom today; these were his last words to us,” says his inconsolable mother Haneefa Bano.

His brother Umar Allai also got injured in the clashes near encounter site, and has been shifted to Bijbehara hospital for treatment.

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