“Does my son scare them from the grave?” asks Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, after the grave of his slain militant son Sameer Tiger was desecrated allegedly by government forces on Wednesday.
A throng of people hit the streets in Drabgam village of Pulwama district as the word about the desecration of Sammer’s grave spread across the area.
“As we came out of the mosque after offering the morning prayers we found that the headstone of Tiger’s grave was missing. The banner covering the grave was also torn to shreds,” said a group of protestors
Tiger, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, was killed in an encounter along with his comrade on April 30 in his native village. He was interred in a small cemetery dedicated to the martyrs in the area. Tiger was the 14th militant who was buried in the cemetery.
Protesters blamed the government forces for vandalising the grave. Some of them claimed they saw the forces near the graveyard late Tuesday night.
“We saw some army men near the graveyard. I thought it was a patrol party. But in the morning when I saw the grave of Tiger it dawned on me they had come to vandalise it,” said some protesters wishing not be named.
“They are deliberately provoking the people to disturb the peace,” they added.
Tiger’s mother Gulshan said that when she saw the vandalised grave of her son her heart wrenched and she felt as “if my son had been martyred again”.
The protesters later marched towards the district headquarter Pulwama and staged a peaceful demonstration on Shopian- Pulwama road demanding the strict action the vandals. The protest was later called off on the assurances of Pulwama deputy commissioner Ghulam Muhammad Dar to address their concerns.
“I was out for a meeting the time these protests were held. However, I assured them through my office that no one will be allowed to indulge in the desecration of graves as it is against the very human values,” said Dar.