Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 'God fearing Communist' of Kashmir politics.


While separatist leaders made yet another show of strength with tens of thousands of people assembling for special Eid prayers today, this festival brings no cheer to the families of the young protesters, who were killed in police firing during the recent ‘Azaadi’ groundswell.

Here is a sordid story of two Srinagar families, who lost their sons during the recent protests. Their kitchens have no whiff of spicy mutton, no smell of pastries which lingers across the homes of the valley today on Eid. There are no new dresses for children.

Tanveer Ahmad Handoo’s mother, Haseena is quite and there are no festivities in their home today. Handoo was killed in Police firing on August 14 near his mobile repair shop in Sekidafar locality of downtown city. Tanveer’s son, Musaib cries for new clothes rolling his body on the ground, banging his fists on his mother’s legs. “I will not wear the old clothes, buy me new ones”. Suraya, Tanveer’s widow is 26 and happiness has eluded them.

There is no source of income for her anymore. “His father used to buy new clothes for him every Eid. How will I explain to my son that there is no one left to buy anything for him”, says Suraya, Tanveer’s widow.

Shehzada cries as her daughter Nazima fiddles with the empty vessels which would be full of dishes every Eid. But this Eid, they have cooked nothing for Eid, not even rice. Sameer Ahmad Batloo, Shehzada’s son was killed in Police firing about hundred meters away from his home. “We were poor but my son would somehow manage bakery and mutton for Eid. We were happy in our poverty- what Eid now without our son,” says Shehzada. “He would buy clothes for me on Eid. He loved me and now he is dead,” says Nazima, Sameer’s sister.

JKLF chairman, Yasin Malik had distributed Rs 50,000 each as “Maqbool Bhat Award” among the families of the six protestors who were killed in the protests. The families said that no other separatist group has come forward to help them in any way. “We are thankful to Yasin sahib that he helped us when misfortune befell us. At least someone cares for those who laid their lives”. Few voluntary groups - HELP Foundation and Sakhawat Center of the Iqbal Memorial Trust have, however, visited the families and helped several of them financially. 

Unlike Jammu where special ex-gratia was given on a priority basis to the families of the slain protestors, the J-K Government has not come forward with any help to the families of 54 protestors who were killed in police action in Kashmir

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