Report and Photos by Kamran Yousuf
Memooda, a 45-year-old widow, lost all of her worldly possessions after government forces burnt down her house during a gunfight with suspected militants in Tral area, 30 kilometers south of Srinagar. Her minor son, 13-year-old Faisal Mir, is also in police custody since the incident.
while talking about the incident, she said there was no militant in her house when forces set the house on fire, “one among the forces’ personnel entered my house and fired a few shots at the tin roof,” she said, “within seconds, and he joined his men back. Then they fired at the house continuously for some time as if militants were hiding inside,” she said.
She asked what was her fault as they couldn’t find militants in his house, “The house was the only thing I had. What am I going to do now? what is my fault if there was no militant in my home?” She said that she kept pleading with the officials on the spot and kept telling them that there was no one inside.
Following information about the presence of militants, government forces cordoned off a neighbourhood, including her house, in Aripal area in Tral on the morning of 5th January. After several hours of exchange of gunfire, government forces blasted the house with explosives.
When it was reduced to rubble, they were unable to find a body underneath. Howveer, police sources maintained that there was a lone militant in the house who managed to escape.
When no militants were found, Mehmooda said, Her minor son, 13-year-old Faisal Mir was taken away by the armed forces, “ He is the only asset left for me now. They have destroyed my house and taken away my son. He is the only hope in my life. what will i do now?” she asked.
Meanwhile, A paramilitary CRPF Soldier who was wounded in the gunfight succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.