Srinagar (NVI): Muhammad Naheen turned five last month but he wasn’t able to celebrate his fifth birthday due to the Covid-19 pandemic due to which the assembly of more than a dozen people has been barred. His father had promised him a birthday gift soon after the markets would open.
Muhammad Yasin, father of the deceased boy is a resident of Yaripora, Kulgam, and works in a school at Bijbehara, Anantnag district as a physical education teacher. “Today, Naheen insisted his father take him to the market to get his promised birthday gift,” said Shabir Ahmed, Naheen’s maternal uncle, as tears roll down on his cheeks.
He said Naheen was the lone son among three children. “Today at 11 am, Naheen along with his father left for Bijbehara market to get the gift for himself,” said Shabir.
A heart-broken father was left cursing his luck. “I should have rejected my son’s request of going to the market. He asked for an ice-cream and I bought one for him as the temperature was high today. He was asking for a gift—a dress, jeans pant and a cotton shirt. I had chosen one for him, but he rejected it saying that colour wasn’t good,” said Yasin amid tears.
The father-son duo spent almost half-an-hour in the market and all of a sudden, bullets started raining. “I saw everybody running for cover. I asked Naheen to run. I was holding his hand very tightly but suddenly he fell down. I saw blood oozing from his right shoulder. I thought he fell down and must have got injured,” said Yaseen. “When I opened my son’s shirt, I found a bullet had hit him. After seeing it, I shouted loudly and a private vehicle driver stopped and he shifted my son to sub-district hospital Bijbehera, where doctors tried their best to save my son.”
Yasin said his son was breathing slowly till he was handed over to the doctors. “But just after 15 minutes of seeing him, doctors declared him dead. I fell down on the hospital floor. My son was my only hope. We were planning to get him admitted in school this year. I wanted him to be an engineer or a doctor, but one single bullet killed all our dreams.”
When the boy’s dead body reached his native village, Yaripora, Kulgam, a pall of gloom descended on the entire village with women beating their chests amid wails. Yasin sat beside his son’s body, in a deep shock and grief. Naheen was later laid to rest at a graveyard in Yaripora with a heavy heart and moist eyes.
In another cowardly attack by terrorists in the Valley today, a CRPF jawan also lost his life when a security forces party was fired upon at Bijbehara area in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.