Life has always been a challenge for Mehraj-u-Din Dar ever since he quit militancy in 1990, soon after joining it.
He married with a hope to live a peaceful life, but fate had something else in store for him. Dar started a small poultry business and had a shop close to the entry of his house at Badambagh, here in north Kashmir.
Dar constructed a two-room house and left the construction mid-way as his priorities changed after having two-daughters—Sehrish and Nisha. Dar, according to his family members, would save money for his daughters to ensure both become doctors. He would always tell his both daughters to fulfill his dream. Little did he know that bullets won’t just pierce his body and leave him dead but also shatter his dream of making both his daughters doctors.
“My brother is no more, he was shot dead here,” says Dar’s sister right at the spot where one bullet hit him on the head and piercing through his left eye while another bullet hitting his belly leaving him in a pool of blood. “They (killers) were two. A woman neighbour saw them from the window of her house. She saw them fleeing after killing my brother.” Dar is one among the six people, who fell to the bullets of unknown gunmen here. The spate of mysterious killings during the past few days has left people terrified.”
Dar’s sister in a deep shock. “I want my brother back. Is there anyone who can bring him back,” she cries in the lawns of her house. “Who will open this shop now? There is none left to take care of his daughters.”
On the inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, Dar’s family says if Mufti really means business, he should bring culprits to book and deal with them according to law.
Dar’s father, Muhammad Ashsan, is a heart patient, not able to talk properly. “My son was innocent, I don’t know why he was killed,” he says. “I tried to follow the neighbours who took my son to hospital. But I wasn’t allowed by army men. For half-an hour, I remained stuck on the road. Then I got a call that my son is no more.”
Dar’s elder daughter Sehrish studies in 10th standard while Nisha is in class 4th. “Our papa was innocent. We don’t know why he was killed,” says the elder one as tears roll down on her cheeks. “He would always tell us study by heart so that both of you would become doctors. How can we become doctors now? We are all alone now. There is no one to take care of us.” Nisha says she “lost a friend, a guide and a teacher.” “He was everything for us,” she says.
Sehrish’s mother is yet to come to terms. “A typhoon has hit us. We are alone,” she says amid sobs. “Killers should be nabbed. We were expecting at least separatist leaders to visit us, but none of them turned up.” Sitting in the corner of a room, Dar’s father says he is too old and sick to take care of two daughters and a widow of his son. “I am sick, not able to talk and walk properly. Only Allah can take care of this family now,” he says as tears fill his eyes.