Saqib undergoing treatment after he was hit by pellets in Palpora while carrying out his professional duties during 2016 summer uprising.

“They killed my dear friend. How on earth did they call us to receive the compensation! Shall we barter our martyrs’ blood for a petty gain!”

Srinagar: A couple of days ago, Javaid Ahmad Dar, a PhD scholar in English literature at Kashmir University and a volunteer at local NGO Social Reforms Organisation Batamaloo, received a call from a police official.

“The police official told me that we need to register Saqib Bashir’s name among the injured to receive the government sponsored compensation for those who were injured during post-Burhan uprising. We both rejected it instantaneously,” says Dar.

Saqib was more vociferous of the two.

“How can my conscious accept it that I will receive compensation from those who killed my brothers and sisters. They killed my dear friend. How on earth did they call us to receive the compensation! Shall we barter our martyrs’ blood for a petty gain!”

Saqib was referring to Batamaloo youth Yasir Sheikh who killed by police on India’s independence day.

Here is Saqib’s story:

Saqib Bashir saw death in close-up this summer. A volunteer in SRO Batamaloo, Saqib, 17, used to ferry patients in ambulances to ‘death areas’ of Srinagar during the uprising.

On 2 September afternoon, Saqib was ordered to ferry a female patient and her three attendants from SMHS hospital to Palpora area of Noorbagh, Srinagar.  A day before, a Class 7 student died in the area after he jumped into the Jehlum river to escape government forces.

The authorities had imposed a strict curfew in the area. No one was allowed to move into the area.

But Saqib, without hesitating for a second, complied with the order. As they reached Cement bridge at Qamarwari, their ambulance was stopped by the CRPF personnel.

“They didn’t ask anything. One CRPF man pointed his tyre-gas gun towards us and said that he will shoot us if we dare to return from this road,” recounts Saqib.

As they turned left to head towards Palpora, there were ominous dark clouds gathering overhead. The entire length of the road was dotted with CRPF and J&K policemen.

 

Saqib Bashir, a volunteer at SRO Batamaloo

“They would first shoot and then tell you the reason. Such was the situation then. It was horrifying beyond description,” says Saqib, adding that a number of volunteers of various NGO’s were manhandled and beaten by the forces during uprising with impunity.

As their ambulance reached Palpora area, Saqib stepped down to help the patient. A CRPF man was watching close by.

Without any provocation, the CRPF man shot at him with a pellet gun and injured him.

“It happened in a split second. I just grounded my left foot and the official fired at me. I was lucky that my eye was safe.”

Pellets pierced his face, neck and abdomen.

A CRPF spokesman, however, denied all charges and told Kashmir Reader that there was no deployment of his men in the area.

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