Conflict

A shack in shock: Mowed Noorbagh teen’s family tragedy

Mowed by police’s armoured vehicle on May 5 at Safa Kadal, the Noorbagh youth has left behind a forlorn family inside a shanty. After losing their breadwinner to a brutal act, the teen bagmaker’s household is now staring at the unyielding justice system of the land.

Too little to make sense of a crestfallen loss that befell her family around two fortnights ago, 6-year-old Rehana offers her own innocent explanation, for her slain sibling’s absence from home: “He has gone for Hajj.”

Her elder brother Adil Ahmed Yadoo was mowed down by a police armoured vehicle on May 5, during protests in Safa Kadal, Srinagar.

That morning, Adil woke up to the rattle of gunshots inside his residence in Noorbagh. There was a gunfight going on in Chhattabal area of Srinagar, where three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were trapped in an under construction house.

Adil had rushed to streets along with other enraged youth, and got engaged in protests and clashes with paramilitary forces. Following the intense clashes, a police armoured vehicle chased and crushed Adil brutally – tearing his flesh, breaking his teenage bones.

“I wish I was there instead of him,” said his brother, Arif with moist eyes, lamenting in short sentences. “We needed him. I’m useless. My eyesight is weak. I’m handicapped. He was our family breadwinner.”

Kashmiri women shout pro-freedom slogans during the funeral procession of Adil. (FPK Photo/Bilal Ahmad)

What police initially claimed as an accident became a clear case of brutality once the video of Adil’s killing went viral on social media. In that video, the armoured vehicle can be seen chasing off the protestors. As soon as it reaches near Adil, it accelerates and runs over him and speeds away. Locals and protesters can be seen screaming: “Moodh Ha” — He’s dead.

When Adil was being rushed by locals to the nearby SMHS hospital, the 18-year-old boy reportedly asked them, “Do you think I’ll survive? If I don’t, tell my parents not to cry!”

That morning, Misra, Adil’s mother had gone out to buy groceries when someone told her that her son was killed. “Doom fell on me,” Misra said painfully.

Adil’s entire family, including his four brothers and a little sister, lives in a single-room—a shanty. Divided in two, the shanty had a separate cubicle for Adil, where he used to stitch schoolbags till late night.

“Adil was an obedient son,” Misra mourned. “He offered prayers five times a day and routinely massaged his father’s feet before sleeping.”

While intensely crying, Ghulam Ahmed Yadoo, Adil’s father said, “They mercilessly murdered my son. He was the backbone of our family.”

The devastated father manages to scratch a living for the family as a Crewel worker. After his son’s crushed body was delivered to his address, he soon threw his books in water. He couldn’t bear the sight of the books without his son with them.

Adil had recently given his class 10 board exams, but could not last to see his result.

While the demise has literally broken his father’s back, Adil’s elder brother is thinking about his unfulfilled promise.

“He had promised me that he would earn enough money for my eye treatment,” Arif said. But the way his brother met his end has unsettled him to an extent of triggering flashbacks.

People offering funeral prayers of Adil at Eidgah Srinagar. (FPK Photo/Bilal Ahmad)

“When I saw the video,” he recalled, painfully, “I was shocked at the brutality of the forces. I rushed to the spot only to see the red shirt and the flesh of my brother stuck to the road. I saw his blood everywhere.”

Working hard to make the ends meet, Adil had taken a loan to buy a piece of land. After his death, the family has returned it back.

“The police gave us the sum of Rs 5000, but I rejected. We just want justice and wish to see the culprits hanged,” Ghulam Ahmed concluded.

Amid all this, Adil’s little sister Rehana still reckons that her brother is on a Hajj trip and will return soon with candies for her. The mourning for the little soul might begin much later, when she would understand how that armoured vehicle crushed her family’s hopes. Till then, perhaps, it’s endless struggle for her poor family with the unyielding justice system of the land.

 

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