Srinagar: A 60-year-old woman died of heart attack while her son was being dragged away by Jammu and Kashmir police personnel during a night raid at about 2:30 a.m on Thursday, eye-witnesses from the family said.
Khadija, a mother of four, collapsed in front of her family and was later declared brought dead at the hospital triggering a backlash from the people.
“The noise woke us up and we realised our home was being raided by forces. They said they had come for my brother to question him,” Khadija’s daughter Rubina told NewsClick.
Rubina, who is visually impaired, was sleeping with her mother at the time of raid. She says she was shell-shocked but tried to stop the police from taking her brother Javaid Ahmad when, she added, a policeman “pushed” her back.
“I was terrified and my family was pleading before the police to tell us why they were taking our brother away...why did they raid us in the middle of the night?” Rubina said.
As Javaid was being forcefully taken away, his mother fell down and suffered a heart attack. Khadija died as she was calling her relative Halima, who lives nearby, the family says. “Halima, please come here,” were her last words, as she stood amidst dozens of policemen, Rubina said.
She died in Halima’s arms following which the police sent Javaid back but asked him to report to Zakura police station in the morning, another family member said.
As local residents assembled at her house, women wailed and men gathered around agitated. “There is no life here in Kashmir. Even if you earn lots of money, someone will barge inside your house in the night and that will be the end of you,” a grieving relative said.
The victim’s family lives in Mirakshah locality of Habak’s Batapora, an area close to University of Kashmir. Khadija’s husband works as a woodcarver and her son Javaid deals with glass-works. The local residents of the area carried out a small protest outside the victim’s home against the authorities calling for the punishment against the alleged perpetrators.
Rubina’s two sisters, both married, say their mother’s “murder” has affected the entire family but, particularly left their blind sister in the lurch. “Both men in the house leave for work and she would take care of her and the family. Now she is all alone...they killed many others with mother,” Rubina’s elder sister said.
The family says, this is the first time that a police force has summoned Javaid, who they claim, is not involved in any “hostile activity.”
Night-raids are, however, common in Kashmir. Over the years, hundreds have been picked up by the police in raids carried out especially during the night hours. And not just in Srinagar, families across Kashmir valley have accused the police and sometimes Indian Army of using arbitrary force against civilians.
A relative Abdul Hamid Mir says they met with police officials including SHO Nigeen, Superintendent of Police (SP) Hazrat Bal and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar regarding the incident. “They said they will look into it,” Mir said.
The SSP Srinagar Sandeep Chaudhary and IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar did not respond to attempts made for their comments which will be updated accordingly.