Srinagar (NVI): Three-year-old Ayaad woke up early this morning to accompany his grandfather Bashir Ahmed Khan, a contractor, to visit Sopore where construction work was going on for the past few days. Khan had to visit the site to take stock of the ongoing work but little did he know that he would not return home alive.
At 9 am, Khan and little Ayaad had reached model town Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. All of a sudden bullets started raining from all directions. Many people, according to the police left behind vehicles and ran for cover. Khan, however, pushed his grandson to the backseat of his vehicle first and then came out of the vehicle in a bid to save his grandson. He was first hit in his shoulder and then in his belly.
Police said that an injured Khan then took the child out of the vehicle but fell on the ground and breathed his last. Eye-witnesses told NVI that the kid, unmindful of what actually happened to his grandfather, sat on his chest and started crying, “uthu daadu (wake up daadu),” but Khan had succumbed to his wounds.
The heart-wrenching pictures of the boy sitting on his dead grandfather’s chest, trying to wake him up, have left every eye moist in Kashmir and everyone in a deep shock. The boy was rescued by a J&K policeman during the encounter between security forces and militants.
In a video of the rescued kid in a police vehicle, he can be heard speaking in broken Kashmiri, “be gache gare (I want to go home)”. The policemen gave him a bunch of chocolates and rolls of biscuits to ensure he doesn’t cry much and come out of the shock.
J&K Police also uploaded a picture on its official Twitter account, showing a policeman holding Ayaad in his lap. The tweet reads: “JKP rescued a three-year-old boy from getting hit by bullets during militant attack in Sopore.”
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) July 1, 2020
At the Mustafabad area on Srinagar outskirts, the residence of deceased Khan, neighbours, relatives and family members were in a deep shock amid wails. A pall of gloom had descended on the family and the entire locality. “My father has been killed and those who killed him should be killed as well. Didn’t they see a little kid along with my father,” said the slain man’s daughter while crying.
CRPF, in a brief statement, said that its personnel were deployed at model town, Sopore for patrolling duties. Terrorists hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque fired indiscriminately on them, resulting in the injuries to four jawans while Head Constable Dipchand Verma got killed and three others- Bhoya Rajesh, Deepak Patil and Nilesh Chawde sustained injuries. “One civilian died on the spot in militant act,” the statement read.