Ever since her 15-year-old son, Farhan Wani, left home in June last year to join the Hizbul Mujahideen, Gowhar Jan would start to pray whenever she heard about an encounter. Her worst fear came true on Tuesday, when Farhan was killed in an encounter in Pehlipora village of Anantnag district in South Kashmir.
Confirming this, a police spokesman said, “A Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist was killed in an encounter with Kokernag police and security forces in Pehlipora village of Larnoo area… (He) was identified as Farhan Wani, a resident of Khudwani, Kulgam.”
A Class XI student, Farhan had left home on the afternoon of June 14 for his Physics tuition, and did not return. A fortnight later, police told his family that Farhan had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Gowhar’s husband, Ghulam Mohammad Wani, a school teacher, then posted a message, in English, on Farhan’s Facebook wall. “My dear son, since you left us, my body has started to betray me. I am screaming of the pain which you have given and still believe that you will come back home… I don’t want to die but am not left with any choice. I am sorry. You will have a lot to learn but I will not be there to teach you, to scold you, to help you,” he wrote.
Wani, 52, hoped that his message would bring back his “brilliant” son, who scored 9.6 CGPA in his Class X exams. “About your mother, she loves you more than anybody else in this world. She didn’t mind going through the pain of giving you birth because somebody told her you will be there to lift her coffin on her death. Dear son, we request you to come back and start again, and we will help you in every manner, otherwise the path which you have chosen will not lead you to anywhere other than pain, stress and betrayal, and maybe the time will come that you come back and never see us again,” he wrote.
Farhan didn’t respond to his father’s call, but Gowhar didn’t lose hope. Speaking to The Indian Express last month, she said she cooked Farhan’s favourite chicken dish every few days, and did not let other family members touch it. After putting it in the fridge for a couple of days, she would reluctantly serve it to the family. Then she would make chicken all over again. “When he returns,” she said, “there should be something he likes to eat.”
“They (security forces) have promised that there will be no cases against Farhan,” Wani had told The Indian Express at their double-storey home in the village, about 30 km from where Farhan, the youngest of his three children, was killed today.
Meanwhile, police said they launched a cordon-and-search operation in Pehlipora village following intelligence inputs that militants had gathered there. While Farhan was the lone militant killed, three other miltants are reported to have escaped.