They had first slit his head and abdomen. Then they put a car tyre around his neck, splashed petrol over his body and set him on fire.
Kashmir Reader/SRINAGAR: “They had slit his abdomen and head with dagger and then set him on fire. We couldn’t identify his body,” said Mohammad Shafi, uncle of Bashir Ahmed Mochi who was charred to death by Hindu fanatics in Kishtwar on August 9.
Bashir, 40, was working in the Public Health Engineer (PHE) department, having acquired permanent appointment only four years ago. In 1994, an accident had cost him his left leg, which was replaced beyond knee with an artificial one. The deformity apparently made Bashir the first casualty of the communal violence that broke out in Kishtwar, a mountainous district in Jammu region, on Eid-ul-Fitr.
On the fateful morning, Bashir left his home in Sangram Bata village for prayers in the Eidgah located close to the main town Kishtwar, a distance of around 3 km. When the clashes broke out everyone ran for safety, but being physically challenged Bashir couldn’t save himself, Shafi told Kashmir Reader by phone from Kishtwar on Wednesday.
“He had waited for a while and then took an alternate route to home via Matta village where the fanatics captured and killed him,” Shafi said. “They had first slit his head and abdomen. Then they put a car tyre around his neck, splashed petrol over his body and set him on fire.”
The family came to know about the tragedy at midnight when they were informed by the police about a charred, unidentified body recovered from the main road near the Eidgah.
“We kept calling on his cell-phone, but there was no response. We thought he may have gone to visit some relatives. Everybody became tense when he didn’t arrive till late in the evening. That was when we contacted police only to know that a body had been found near the playground,” Shafi said.
“Bashir was burnt beyond recognition. We could recognize him from the deformity in the leg.”
Bashir is survived by his wife and three children—two daughters and a son. His wife Waheeda begum is a homemaker, son Danish Bashir a Class 12 student and daughters Ruqaiya and Samia are in 2nd and 3rd standard.
“They have a small, single-storey mud house. He was the only breadwinner of the family,” Shafi said.
The communal violence has so far left two Muslims and a Hindu dead. While a Muslim and a Hindu were killed in Kishtwar, another Muslim was killed in Padder village in neighbouring Doda district by the members of Village Defence Committee.