Sopore: Indian barbarity at peak


Farooq Alay

The horrific incident of July 1, 2020 in Sopore has shocked the world. The brute Indian forces shot a 65-year-old man dead in front of his three-year-old grandson, who was accompanying him in the middle of town where they had come to draw a cheque from the bank.The goons in uniform dragged Bashir Ahmed Khan out, shot him several times and did not stop here. They threw his grandson on his dead body and snapped photographs to send across through social media, making mockery of the misery of that senior citizen lying dead in the pool of blood.

This incident has really shocked the world, the heads may kneel in shame, but the question is whether the world community will condemn India and Modi’s fascist government that, analysts believe, is deliberately committing such incidents which are aimed at diverting world’s attention from New Delhi’s embarrassment at the hands of the Chinese in Ladakh and Galwan. The picture went viral on social media like a jungle fire and has drawn widespread hatred against the brute Indian forces and the barbaric Modi government. The picture staged in a way to mock the misery of the child wailing on the blood stained corpse of his grandfather is not just a heart wrenching sight, but it is a killing pain in the heart.

Thousands of enraged people in Occupied Kashmir staged widespread protests on July 1 against the killing of innocent elderly man, whose grandson was later left badly weeping and wailing helplessly sitting on Bashir Ahmed Khan’s dead body, dazed and traumatized.  The forces, according to eyewitnesses, dragged the elderly man out of his car and shot him dead, leaving his body in pool of blood. Later, the troopers in uniform put the child on his chest as the grandfather lay dead on the road; they took photographs to make the mockery of his corpse. The toddler was accompanying his grandfather for drawing cash from a bank situated in the heart ofSorpore town. Later, in the afternoon, hundreds of Kashmiris gathered at the old man’s funeral, chanting slogans of “We want freedom.”

Bashir Ahmed Khan’s daughter said that her father had gone to the bank to cash a cheque and on the way he was dragged out of his car and then shot in cold blood. Without naming anyone, she said her father’s killers did not care about the 3-year-old child who was accompanying him. “Who shoots a person in front of a 3-year-old kid?”, she asked in deep anguish. The victim’s wife said thather 3-year-old grandson was deliberately made to sit on the corpse of her husband. “My brother was not a militant. He did not carry a gun. Why was he killed?”, asked Nazir Ahmad, the brother of victim Bashir Ahmed. “If you want, I can come with you to meet the top police officers to counter their claims.”

“We received a call that my father had met with an accident,” Bashir’s son, Suhail said. “When we reached Sopore, we were told he was killed in a crossfire. If it was a crossfire, his body should’ve been inside the car, but it was found on the road.”Aijaz Ahmad Qudsi, Bashir Ahmed’s nephew, told Anadolu Agency that his deceased uncle’s car was unharmed, with not even a scratch. He claimed that the 65-year-old was dragged out from his car and then shot by the armed forces. The family members also accused the security forces of putting the child on the deceased civilian’s body “for taking pictures”. “They dragged the body out and put the child on top. The child’s clothes were drenched in his grandfather’s blood”. The family said the man was a small-time employee who earned Rs 6,000 per month.

The incident echoed the killing of 12-year-old Palestinian child Muhammad al Durra in September 2000, whose father, Jamal al Durra, tried his best to shield him from Israeli gunfire, taking several injuries. The boy’s killers were never brought to justice but the photograph of young Durra screaming behind his father remained etched in the memory of almost every Palestinian.

Reacting to the July 1 Sopore incident, Amnesty India said that the security forces had violated the law by disclosing the identity of the minor. “It is also a breach of the ‘best interests of the child’ principle as required to be the basis of any action by authorities under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a state party.” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the image of the three-year-old sitting on his grandfather’s “lifeless, bullet-ridden body” exposed the real face of Narendra Modi’s “fascist India”. Leader of the oppositionShehbaz Sharif also condemned the killing. In a tweet, he said: Widespread human rights abuses by fascist Modi government constitute an acid test for the international community.” Tweeting the picture of the deceased’s grandson sitting on his chest, Pakistan FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said she was “searching for words to describe (…) the grief and helplessness of the Kashmiri people.”Terming killing of a civilian right in front of his 3-year-old grandson by the Indian forcesas a chilling reminder of Nazi oppression, senior vice chairman Jammu Kashmir National Front Altaf Hussain Wani said that the soul-wrenching photo of atoddler crying on the chest of his dead grandfather speaks volumes about India’sfascism and its racial undercurrents.

The world felt the pain and anger of the Kashmiris and cited against this horrific incident. Kashmiris have been suffering at the hands of Indians for a long time. The decades of brutality and human rights violations are unimaginable and inconceivable. As hundreds of children lay blinded by the pallet guns, this incident adds fuel to the already igniting fire of freedom for the Kashmiris. Oppressed and tortured Kashmir is driving India to a point of no return. As Nazi inspired Indian government gets bolder in its brutality against Kashmiris, India is gradually being compelled into isolation for the crimes against humanity. It is about time that India is brought to answer for the innocent blood spilled in Kashmir and the decades of atrocious and bare barbaric are accounted for.

(The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad)