Slain cop’s home in south Kashmir is a strife-torn world — where a grandfather who stepped into his disappeared son’s shoes is now wondering about one more widow and two more orphans in his family.
LOGRIPORA, Aishmuqam – In a room full of mourners, septuagenarian Mohammad Abdullah Ahanger sits numb with grief.
His frozen face makes grievers believe that he’s shattered by his cop grandson, Sohail Ahmad Ahanger’s killing.
Ahanger Jr. along with his colleague Mohammad Yousuf was killed in a militant attack at Bhagat Barzulla area of Srinagar on February 19.
CCTV footage of the killing went viral on social media sites, and drew raging reactions.
“Kam’bar phutum (I’m shattered),” Abdullah, a retired government teacher, told Kashmir Observer.
The slain cop is survived by his young widow, two orphans, his aged ‘half-widow’ mother, and his yet-to-be-named conflict-torn parentage of Kashmir, his grandfather.
Amid cries and shrieks, Sohail’s innocent twain—Sehal (4) and Usman (2)—are still wondering about their Janu, their father’s routine calls.
“Since those calls have forever stopped now, they’re enquiring about their father,” the grieving grandfather said.
“We haven’t told them anything. And what’re we supposed to tell them! Should I tell them that this is what was written in their fate?”
To express solidarities, the villagers arrive in twos and threes at the Ahanger home, nestled 70 kilometers from Srinagar.
This is the second strife tragedy that has struck to the family in last thirty years.
Sohail was 7-months old when his father, Mushtaq Ahmad Ahanger, a flour mill clerk, disappeared during nineties. Like many other Kashmiris, his whereabouts are still unknown.
“We went everywhere in search of him,” Abdullah said. “The case lies with Human Rights Commission, but there is no news of him.”
But the grandfather didn’t make Sohail feel orphan after his father’s disappearance. He took care of him and his elder sister like a father.
“Sohail was more attached to me,” the heartbroken grandfather continued.
“We used to speak frequently on phone. But now, I have lost my connection,” he broke down.
It was on his grandfather’s call that Sohail joined the police force in 2011.
“I came to know that some posts have been announced in the J&K Police. So I told him that you should apply, and he did,” Abdullah recalled.
Some months later, Sohail’s name figured in the list of qualified constables. He shortly got married to a local girl, and became his family’s sole breadwinner. His headman role relieved the old Abdullah of some of his burdens.
But now the elder—who’s a great-grandfather of his departed grandson’s orphans—feels a mountain on his heavy chest and sunken shoulders all over again.
Far away from his hometown’s mournful scene, Sohail’s killing is now paving away to the “security renewal”, including flash cordons, in Srinagar.
Kashmir Police chief, IGP Vijay Kumar, has reportedly increased the deployment at all vital locations in the summer capital.
Before his killing, Sohail was posted with a bureaucrat in Jammu. He was transferred back to Kashmir in February itself.
“Since I wasn’t well from the last few weeks, he wanted to come home to be with me,” Abdullah’s said.
“I insisted him not to come but he didn’t listen and said at least I can visit home frequently while being in the valley.”
After his return to Kashmir, Sohail was posted in Barzulla Police Station.
He was killed on the second day of his posting.
“In Sohail’s killing,” Abdullah lamented, “we have lost everything.”