Yet another ambush of security personnel in Kashmir leaves young cop’s family traumatised, village disquieted

On Friday evening, unidentified militants attacked a police party deployed in the market square of North Kashmir's Bandipora town, killing Mohammad Sultan and his colleague Fayaz Ahmad on the spot

Representative photo
Representative photo

Gulzar Bhat

"Why are so many policemen visiting us? Have they come to see my Abu? Where is he? Tell him his friends are waiting for him," says 8-year-old Saliq, son of slain policeman Mohammad Sultan in broken syllables after top police officials visited their newly constructed single-storied house in Muqam Shaheed Mir village, some 13 kms from North Kashmir's apple rich Sopore town.

On Friday evening at 5.30 pm, militants attacked a police party deployed in the market square of North Kashmir's Bandipora town, killing Sultan and his colleague Fayaz Ahmad on the spot.

Mushtaq Ahmad, Sultan's cousin, was the first member in the family who heard about his tragic death.

"At around 6 pm, a friend phoned me and said that something untoward had happened in Bandipora, advising me to see if my cousin was alright," Ahmad said. He said he got a bad feeling about the call and he quickly called on Sultan's cellphone, but was unable to get through to him.

Soon social media burst forth with the news of the killing of Sultan and his colleague.

"I was left dumfounded and did not understand how to convey the bad news to his wife and elderly father," Ahmad said.

He said that soon afterwards, the entire village was filled with cries and mourners began visiting the house of Sultan in large numbers.

Sultan was the only child of his parents and used to do menial jobs to make ends meet before he succeeded in joining the police force in 2009.

"He had taken a housing loan from a bank and built this single-storied house. It is still incomplete. Now who will repay his loan?" asked Ahmad.

A few years ago, after the death of his mother, Sultan married and had four children.

"Saliq is his elder son. Merely eight months ago, his wife gave birth to male twins," said Ahmad.

He said that Saliq, who is oblivious to the situation, had been continuously asking about his father.

"He enquired more about his father when he saw senior police officials at his home," Ahmad said.

J&K Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh and Inspector General of Police (Kashmir zone) Vijay Kumar visited Sultan’s residence and commiserated with the family.

Later, Singh told reporters that the police had got some clues about the attack and they were working to identify the militants involved in the attack.

There has been no let up in militancy-related incidents and targeted killings in Kashmir over the two months. In October, several non-native labourers were targeted by militants, spurring them to flee the valley.

Last month, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed Lok Sabha that 40 civilians had been killed and 72 injured in Jammu and Kashmir in terror-related incidents till November 15 this year.

He also said that 35 personnel of the security forces, including those from Jammu and Kashmir Police, were killed in such incidents till November 15 and 86 were injured.

As mourners took Sultan's body for funeral, women bawled their eyes out while his devastated wife Naza suffered bouts of faintness. "His children also began crying bitterly," said Ahmad.

He said that the cries and shrills of mourners filled the air and "it was like doomsday".

According to Ahmad, hundreds of mourners from the adjoining villages made a beeline for the village to participate in the last rites of Sultan.

At around 11.30 pm he was interred in his ancestral graveyard.

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