Press Trust of india

Memories of days that were haunt families of slain cops

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Srinagar, Dec 12:  A Bollywood song, the excitement of a father to be, the anticipation of a wedding yet to happen… snatches of memories are all that the families of the four policemen killed by militants have to hold on to.

As mourners streamed into their homes on Wednesday, a day after four constables were gunned down by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants in Shopian district, their families recalled the smiles, the warmth, the songs and the many vignettes that added to lives well lived — and tragically ended.

In the Ganderbal home of Constable Abdul Majeed Ganaie, who had briefly joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in 1995 before choosing to become a policeman, his 18-month-old daughter Uzma looked for her father in the crowd of mourners.

Breaking into tears at not finding her “baba”, Uzma was pacified only when a family member plays a video clip of her father crooning a Bollywood song. The strains of the music and Majeed singing “Tera Jaisa Yaar Kahan” gave the toddler some comfort but she still looked confused, looking around at the many people trying to console her mother and other family members.

The Kishore Kumar song from the Amitabh Bachchan starrer “Yaarana” was a favourite of Majeed’s, said his brother Showkat, a labourer.

He first sang at a family function some years ago. “His voice had left all of us stunned,” Showkat told PTI as he received mourners at his home.

“Friendship was the only thing he had earned all these years,” Showkat said, as he put the song on loop for his niece Uzma.

He last met Majeed 15 days ago when he had come home for a break. “Majeed would advise me not to fight as I am a bit short-tempered,” he said tearfully.

Born in Shallabugh, Majeed had only studied till Class 8 and started working as a labourer.

In 1995, he joined the Hizbul Mujahideen as a locally trained militant but he returned to the mainstream a year later. He continued to work as a labourer till 2000 when he got selected as a constable.

The four policemen were on guard duty outside a minority pocket — a term used for localities where Kashmiri Pandits stay — when the militants attacked them.

With Majeed was Anees ul Islam Mir, whose pregnant wife has been in a state of shock since hearing of the news of her husband’s death.

“They had got married seven months ago and she is expecting a baby. Both of them were really excited about it. Anees was just 26 years old,” his maternal uncle Sabzar Bhat said.

Visitors thronged their home in a village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district but Mir’s wife was in no position to talk to them and fainted several times during the day.

Bhat, who runs a chemist shop, said he had kept a doctor on standby for her.

The third person killed was Constable Mehrajuddin Dar, whose family was preparing for his wedding next year. He had started constructing a house for himself in Khewa village in Bandipore district.

“He was a darling of his nieces and nephews. He would spend time with children during holidays,” his brother Farooq Dar said.

Also killed in the ambush on Tuesday was Constable Hamidullah Ganie, who stayed with his brother Abdul Majeed Ganie after his marriage with Khalida.

His family stays in Fatehpora of Anantnag in south Kashmir.

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