On Tuesday afternoon, Rafiqa, wife of Jammu and Kashmir police official Anees Ahmad Mir, was looking for a cellphone at the family’s home in Soutch village, in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. She found it, and checking social media, spotted a picture of her husband — he was sprawled in a pool of blood.
Shocked, Rafiqa showed the picture to her father-in-law, Abdul Rashid Mir, who initially refused that it was his son. He later had to accept, and tell Rafiqa, who is pregnant with her first child, that it was Anees. He had been killed.
“For a moment, I tried to convince her that it was not Anees – that it was someone else…. But I recognised my son – he was lying on the ground,” Mir told The Indian Express.
Anees was among the four policemen killed in a militant attack on a police picket at Zainapora area in neighbouring Shopian district on Tuesday afternoon. The policemen — identified as Abdul Majeed, Mehraj-ud-din, and Hameed-ul-lah, apart from Anees Mir — were posted at a picket meant for security of four Kashmir Pandit families living in the area.
“We learnt about the incident (Anees’s killing) only on the Internet. I rushed to Shopian immediately,” Rashid said.
Anees had come home briefly on Monday. “He came to give some medicines and left within an hour,” a relative said.
Anees and Rafiqa got married in May this year.
At Fatehpora village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, the family of another slain policeman, Hameed-ul-lah, said he had told his wife, Khalida, that he would come home on Wednesday. “He was recently shifted for security of the minority picket (Zainapora),” Hameed’s elder brother, Abdul Majid Ganaie, said.
Hameed was a special police officer (SPO) for several years and was made a constable recently. “After he was made constable, we finalised his marriage…he got married in the first week of October. Who could have known we will mourn his death,” Ganaie said.
Another relative said Khalida spoke with Hameed last on Tuesday afternoon. “She had received the call from him. She had lunch and when she called again, he didn’t pick the phone. There was soon news about the incident,” this relative said.
Hameed’s body was brought to his village on Tuesday night.
At Chewa village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the family of Mehraj-ud-din Dar, the third constable killed by militants, also said he was to come home on Wednesday.
His brother Farooq Ahmad said they learnt about the fatal shooting on social media. “We were aware that he was posted at Zainapora. Soon as we learnt of the attack on Tuesday, I contacted some officials, who said he was among the policemen (killed),” Farooq said.
Dar had joined the state police in 2012 and is survived by two brothers and father.
The fourth slain policeman, Abdul Majeed Ganaie, a resident of Ganderbal in central Kashmir, was a lone earning member of his family, police officials said. He is survived by his wife, two children (son, 5, and daughter, 3) and a brother.
In Zainapora, the incident has left the four Pandit families terrified. “What if there had been crossfiring? We are terrified since then,” said Pushkar Nath, whose family lives closest to the police picket.
Nath said the police post is inopportune for them instead of providing security. “I will approach the local administration and ask to remove the picket. There is no safety concern for our family here; we have been living here together with Kashmiri Muslims for long,” he said.