Saleem Iqbal Qadri

Why Ashraf was killed – question grieving residents of Harwan Sopore

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Why Ashraf was killed – question grieving residents of Harwan Sopore

Sopore, May 05: “Our Ashraf was not an informer” – are the loud wails coming out from the single-storey mud house in Harwan Sopore, where grieving family members and relatives of Mohammad Ashraf Mir, who was killed by “unidentified” militants late Friday evening, are trying to come in terms with their loss.

According to the neighbors, around eight masked gunmen converged on the house of 35-year-old Ashraf late Friday evening when he was there chatting with his wife Saima Begum, two children and neighbour Ghulam Nabi Ganaie.

“They fired inside the house from a glass window hitting Ashraf and his wife Saima, while neighbor Ganaie and Ashraf’s two sons miraculously escaped the attack,” neighbours said.

Recounting the horror, Ashraf’s brother-in-law Ghulam Ahmad Kumar, whose house is located nearby, said, “I was about to finish my dinner when I heard gunshots outside my home. I rushed out quickly and I found some gunmen near Ashraf’s house.

“When I attempted to move towards Ashraf’s house, one of the masked gunman warned not to go there, but I didn’t listen to him and quickly ran into the room where Ashraf and his wife Saima were lying on the floor in a pool of blood,” said Kumar.

Kumar said he along with some other neighboors rushed both Ashraf and Saima to Sopore hospital where Ashraf was declared brought dead by the doctors. “However, Saima received first-aid treatment and then she was referred to Bones and Joints Hospital in Srinagar, where she was operated in emergency conditions last night,” added Kumar.

According to Kumar, Ashraf had left his driving profession some years ago and he was a close friend of Arif Maqbool Sofi (25), a resident of Unisoo village, who fell to the bullets of unidentified gunmen on Jan 03 this year.

“Arif was owned by BJP state president Sat Sharma and state general secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul as being their party worker,” recalled Kumar.

Ashraf’s brother-in-law said that he was the lone bread-earner in the family.

Besides Saima, Ashraf is survived by another wife Mubeena, and three children – a daughter and two sons aged two and three, says Kumar.

Mehrajudin, a neighbor of Asharf said, “Why was Ashraf killed? Just because he was brave and honest, if so, then those who killed him should come here again and shoot everyone in this village.”

When this reporter approached other relatives to know more about him, they refused to talk saying that we are in grief — “come next time and we will talk.”

Locals in Harwan village told ‘Kashmir Images’ that since the time Ashraf got killed, nobody from police or other security agencies nor any administrative official has visited this area.

“How it is possible that attackers left our village as two army camps are located a short distance away from this village?” questioned the locals while appealing the government to help the family.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Ashraf Mir was laid to rest on Saturday morning at his native village where hundreds of people participated in his funeral prayers.

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