Naseer A Ganai
On January 19, 1991 Khazir Muhammad Qazi witnessed the killing of his two sons, Muhammad Ameen Qazi and Bilal Ahmad Qazi, in his cycle shop at Magarmal Chowk in Srinagar. They were killed by Indian paramilitary CRPF troopers who resorted to indiscriminate firing killing a dozen innocent people.
Though the then IGP CRPF had ordered dismissal of the accused CRPF personnel describing their action injudicious, his decision was over-turned by a Delhi Court in 2006 which described the order of IGP as ‘total non-application of mind’ and reinstated the CRPF personnel.
Now 17 years down the line, the aged father is struggling for life in his home at Rambagh. “He is suffering from a critical disease,” whispers his grandson Aqib Qazi who was only a year-old when his father Muhammad Ameen Qazi was killed.
Khazir Muhammad needs regular blood transfusion. But he remembers the day vividly when his two sons were killed. “We were doing our routine work. Then firing started and everyone rushed for life. The CRPF troopers fired indiscriminately towards our shop,” he said.
He says that a person hailing from Tangmarg rushed to his shop pleading for shelter. “The person presumed that it would save him from CRPF firing but next I saw blood oozing from his shoulders. A bullet had struck him wounding him severely,” he said.
When the CRPF vehicles left the spot, people rushed towards the shop putting his two severely injured sons and other injured into a police vehicle but they died on the way. “The vehicle couldn’t move forward as firing was going on,” he said. Qazi says many people died that day. “Opposite to our shop there was shop run by a Sardar Ji. He too lost his son in the massacre,” says Qazi.
As usual in 90s, thousands of people including pro-freedom politicians rushed to his home expressing solidarity with the family promising them help. Overwhelmed, the family refused any kind of support from the government. But then no one returned to see what happened to the family and an orphaned child.
Qazi never returned to the shop where he witnessed killing of his sons. Life changed for the family forever.
But in his falling health what perturbs Qazi is the future of his grandson to whom he has been a father all along.