United by the pain of their slain teenaged sons

As Farooq Ahmad was describing the undying pain of the killing of his teenaged son Wamiq Farooq nine years ago on this day, he recognised a meek sounding voice calling from outside.
File Photo
File Photo

As Farooq Ahmad was describing the undying pain of the killing of his teenaged son Wamiq Farooq nine years ago on this day, he recognised a meek sounding voice calling from outside.

 "It must be Ashraf saeb. He has never missed my son's death anniversary. And how can he, when he has himself faced similar tragedy," Ahmad mumbled to himself, stepping out to receive the guest Mohammad Ashraf Matoo whose teenaged son Junaid Matoo was also killed by government forces in 2010.

Ahmad and Matoo did not know each other before they lost their sons to government forces' fire nine years ago, despite living in the same neighbourhood. 

But now, for years they have been fighting their battles for justice to their slain sons and supporting each other emotionally.

 "From the first day I realised that institutions of justice had deliberately put on blinkers. It was evident from the fact that killers of my son were booked only after almost six years. They could manage bail simultaneously. One of the killers has retired, while another is doing his job carefree," says Ahmad.

"We have developed a relation of pain. This relation helps us to bear this pain that will be with us for life," both Ahmad and Ashraf say in unison, as if it was rehearsed. 

For Ashraf Kashmir is a "big suppression story" with official enquiries ordered only to "cool the tempers" but "not to punish the guilty".

 "We have seen institutions of justice meant to uphold laws violating them. We don't expect justice from them. But we continue our fight still in those institutions to show to the killers of our children that we are not fatigued," says Ashraf.

Both, Ahmad and Ashraf say the only hope of justice now is from God.

 "Almighty will take revenge of each drop of blood of our children from those killers," says Ahmed as Matoo noded in agreement as they headed out towards the 'martyrs graveyard', where their "hopes" are buried.

Earlier, Wamiq's mother Firdousa said how she dreaded arrival of January 31 and how she always prayed that this date was deleted from the calendar. 

"His friends used to make a beeline here every day. He was their cuptein (captain). He was equally good in studies. He stood first in every examination at his school," Firdousa said, showing her slain son's photographs receiving trophies and medallions. 

Suddenly, she shivers looking at her son's photograph in maroon coat and necktie. She stands up and goes out of her kitchen saying, "I can't say more" as her husband narrated the detail of how he found out how his son was killed.

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