Killed in Srinagar shootout, slain’s family ask: ‘who are unknown gunmen?’

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Sitting in a room, 65-year-old Halima cannot comprehend what led to the killing of her eldest son, Rouf Ahmad Khan, on Wednesday evening just meters away from his house in downtown.

Halima was preparing for evening prayer when she first heard the gunshots. “Suddenly, there was a hue and cry and somebody told me that my son has been shot,” she told The Kashmir Walla. As she rushed towards the road, Halima saw her son lying on the ground.

“I took him in my lap and started wiping his blood from his face with my scarf,” she recalled. “I was crying for help and pleading with people to get a vehicle to take my son to the hospital.”

Khan, a property dealer by profession, is survived by his 7-year-old daughter, his wife, a younger brother, and Halima. 

Eyewitness told The Kashmir Walla that Khan was shot at least six times and died on the spot. “It was a prayer time and most of us were either in a mosque or performing ablution at home,” Halima added, “so, nobody saw the shooters.”

As per an official press release, at about 5:25 pm, the police said it received information about a militant incident at Merjanpora Safakadal area of Srinagar. “Officers attending the crime spot learnt that unidentified militants had fired upon a civilian” who “received grievous gunshot injuries in the incident and was immediately evacuated to nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.”

Bashir Ahmad Khan, a cousin of the slain, said that he was one of the first people to reach the firing spot. As he heard “five to six gunshots”, he reached the spot to find Khan was in a pool of blood. Bashir saw Rouf had bullet wounds on his face, chest, and abdomen.

He added that 10 to 15 minutes after the incident, the police arrived at the spot and took the body to the hospital.

Sajad Ahmad Khan, slain’s brother, told The Kashmir Walla that he saw his brother just three minutes before he was killed.

“He was walking towards home when I saw him on the road. He always used to take tea after returning home,” Sajad said. “He had two biscuit packets in his hand and I handed him an LED bulb to take home.”

The family is in anguish that “no official from the administration visited the family for solidarity”. Sajad was performing ablution when he heard the gunshots. “I immediately went outside and saw my brother on the road,” he said. “All we want to know: for what crime my brother was killed? Tell us the reason. If he was involved in anything we would accept it without raising any voice. Every time a civilian is killed, the blame is put on these unknown gunmen. Who are they?”

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