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Handwara killings: He stepped out to give brother camera

One of the two youth killed on Tuesday in army firing in Handwara town of Kashmir was a budding cricketer and had attended a national level Under-19 cricket camp three years back.

By: PTI | Srinagar |
Updated: April 15, 2016 2:23:22 am
Nayeem Bhat Nayeem Bhat (Facebook photo by Mehraj Dar)

Nayeem Qadir Bhat, 19, was at home when his brother called him. “Bring me the camera,” Zahoor Qadir said. Nayeem rushed to the market, handed over the camera to his brother and left for home.

He didn’t reach home. Instead, he was carried to the nearby hospital in a horse cart with blood dripping from a bullet wound. In the next half an hour, Zahoor had lost his brother and Handwara, one of its favourite cricketers.

“I work for a local news agency,” Zahoor said. “On hearing about the protests, I called and asked him to get the camera. He brought it soon. I asked him to go straight to home.”

Zahoor says Nayeem was accompanied by his friend and a relative. “Minutes after they left, I got a call, informing me that Nayeem had been injured.” He said Nayeem was shot in the abdomen when policemen fired at youths protesting against the alleged molestation of a girl by an Armyman.

Girls crying near the body of Nayeem who was killed by police and army in Handwara. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

“I found people carrying him in a horse cart. At the hospital, he was administered first aid and we left for Srinagar. We had barely reached Kulangam (less than 3 km from Handwara) when he died.”

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Zahoor said Nayeem’s life revolved around cricket and he was the first in Kupwara district to be called for selection trials for U-19 state team last year. But he couldn’t clear the trials as he was on the wrong side of politics, said Zahoor. The state cricket association is divided on political lines and Nayeem was in the now out-of-favour Farooq Abdullah camp, he said.

“Cricket was his only love. An all-rounder, he opened for his team (Handwara Star -XI). His aggressive style of batting had earned him many fans in the town.”

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