Hajin-Bandipora: Shortly before two militants stormed into the residence of Ghulam Ahmad Parrey in Bandipora on Wednesday evening, someone threw stones at a lamppost outside the house. Some thirty minutes earlier, Parrey's son, BSF constable Mohammad Ramzan Parrey, was talking over phone, adjacent to the lamppost, when four mysterious men appeared out of nowhere and demanded his identity card.
When Ramzan refused to show the men his identity card, a scuffle broke out. He was soon joined by his aunt who got him out of the clutches of the four men. Fifteen minutes later, the aunt said, the men reappeared, this time directly barging into their house and without listening to the family members asked for Ramzan.
“When they came again, they were looking for him. They asked him to show his identity card, but he refused,” said Showkat Ahmad Parrey, a cousin brother of Ramzan, as Bharat Mata Ki Jai slogans raised by the BSF soldiers reverberated in the area.
The police say at least two men armed with automatic weapons and knives entered the house between 9.15 to 9.30 pm on Wednesday.
Ramzan knew the scuffle outside was going to spell trouble for himself and his family. Soon enough, another scuffle broke out in the main lobby of the house between him and the gunmen.
Ramzan tried to reason and later scuffled with the gunmen for almost five minutes, before a gunman fired a volley of bullets into his head, killing him on the spot. It was pitch dark outside when the burst of bullets singed the cool air, shattering the silence in the village. According to Ramzan’s relatives, everyone in the neighborhood shut down their lights, sensing trouble.
“He fought like a brave soldier,” the cousin said. Militants had fired indiscriminately in the BSF constable's house, injuring three of the family members, including his father, Ghulam Ahmad Parrey, who slipped into coma following his injuries. His mother and aunt, who had earlier got the soldier out of the clutches of gunmen, also got injured in the attack.
A window of opportunity had opened when Ramzan overpowered the gunmen and tried to snatch the rifle of one of them when they barged into the house after the scuffle with him outside. “When he tried to snatch the rifle of one, another fired at him. They were trying to drag him outside the house,” Parray said.
Ramzan, 30, a resident of Parry Mohalla in Hajin of North Kashmir's Bandipora district, had been on a 37-day leave from 26 August. He was part of 73 Battalion of the BSF, and had served for the last seven years with the BSF in and out of Kashmir. He was last deployed at Singhpora area in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
According to the police, it is quite possible that the militants already knew about Ramzan, his work and his presence in the area. Bandipora has, according to the police, recently become a hub of foreign militants.
Deputy Inspector General of BSF Arvinder Singh said whosoever from Kashmir working with the BSF goes on leave these days, there is an advisory issued by the BSF for its soldiers to avoid disclosing their identity. If the area in which a soldier lives is disturbed, then the soldier has to be extra careful. “He (Ramzan) fought bravely like any other soldier would do in these circumstances.”
“They attacked his family members with sharp knives after killing Ramzan,” Singh said, a day after the funeral of the slain soldier in Hajin area of Bandipora. “He fought bravely and his martyrdom won’t go in vain”.
Sheikh Zulfikar Azad, SSP of J&K police in Bandipore district said two of the militants barged into the house while two others waited outside. They had initially tried to drag the soldier out of his house but failed.
In last seven to eight months, the presence of the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has considerably increased in Hajin area of Bandipora. The forces managed to kill 14 militants from the group in the last few months. The police has now blamed LeT commander Mehmood Bhai for carrying the attack.
“The accused, a member of the Mehmood Bhai group has been identified as Abu Muslim alias Chhotu. He was accompanied by a few more militants when the killing took place," said Nitish Kumar the Director General of Police in north Kashmir.
“In the last seven to eight months, more then forty militants have been killed in this area. There is frustration within the militant ranks, which is why they have done this,” he said.
The last rites of Ramzan were performed with full force honour and he was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in the Hajin area on Wednesday evening. A large number of people attended his funeral prayers.
Friends said Ramzan was a jolly man who loved to play cricket and volleyball. Following the lead of his cousins, he chose to join the BSF. Two of his cousins are serving in the army, and Parray Mohalla and two other adjoining villages have more then a dozen people serving in different armed forces.
At the wreath laying ceremony, Firdaus Ahmad watched the casket of his friend being taken away for the last rites. The two grew up together and played in the same fields before destiny pushed them into different directions. Firdaus is a shopkeeper in Hajin.
“He was a brave man. He did not deserve to be killed like this, unarmed. Those who did this are butchers. Allah will not spare them,” he said.
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Updated Date: Sep 29, 2017 10:14:27 IST