A bullet and the scars; Bandipora family awaits justice.

Sajid Maqbool
25th August, 2017

With a bullet still inside his head, Waseem survived all these years but as a liability to his family. They (government forces) fired indiscriminately at the vehicle in which Waseem a 4th standard student was injured besides three others. He received a bullet in his head. Conductor of the vehicle succumbed to his injuries. Waseem is 24 years old now.

Waseem Ahmad Lone, a visibly handsome boy resting on a bed inside his home with his old mother is medically declared as disabled since he received a bullet in his head. Both, the son and the mother are sitting alone inside their old house. Fear, terror, distress can be seen on their faces. They are living a distressed life where it is difficult for them to survive. Post traumatic stress disorder has taken a toll on the valley people with the violence seeing no end in Kashmir.

Some six kilometres away from main market of Bandipora in North Kashmir, a small village namely Sumlar lays between the beautiful forests – a backward area where the literacy rate is very low as compared to other villages.

In this picturesque small hamlet, family of Ghulam Rasool Lone was living happily. Ghulam Rasool Lone was working as a government employee in Fire and Emergency Services department. Tahira Bano, daughter of Ghulam Rasool Lone was a qualified young girl with a B.S.C. and a computer diploma to her name. She was first such girl from the village to have a degree in sciences.

One fine night in October 2005, while Tahira was studying inside her room, suddenly someone started knocking at the front door of her house. Her father was on night duty. She quickly went to kitchen and with her mother Haneefa Begum went to check who is knocking at the door. Bullets pierced Tahira’s body. She was no more. Haneefa remembers the whole episode. She remembers how two unidentified gunman in army fatigue fired indiscriminately on Tahira and killed her on spot and while she herself got injured. At that time, Waseem was a 10 year old boy. He remembers how he woke up from sleep and started crying without knowing as what is happening around.

In the meantime, Ghulam Rasool couldn’t bear the death of his young educated daughter as he suffered mental problem and died of blood cancer after a month.

From a happy family, sorrow and grief became abode of this family. Haneefa, with post traumatic stress disorder she started living with her 10 year old son.

Grief and sorrow knew no end, as if this family was made to bear all this sorrow and grief. Waseem Ahmad Lone was studying in 4th standard at Space Age Model Higher Secondary School Kuloosa, Bandipora. One fine day after class work, Waseem left for home after boarding public transport and as soon as the vehicle reached near Bopora camp, sentry posted at the army camp started indiscriminate firing on the vehicle in which conductor scumbed on spot and four other got injured. Waseem was among the injured. He was hit by bullet on the left side of forehead. He was shifted to SKIMS Soura, where he underwent through a major surgery. But the doctors were unable to remove the bullet from his forehead. He remained in Intensive Care Unit for three months.

Haneefa, mother of Waseem says that doctors at SKIMS said that removing the bullet from the head could lead to death of her son.

“The bullet is still there. The scars are still there and these scars remind us about our grief every other day. We lost our head of the family, the only bread earner. We lost an educated girl, who was our hope. How can we forget all this The past haunts us,” Haneefa added.

Waseem left the studies after that incident. He is not able to work now. He is under continous stress and a medical team has adjudged him disabled. Continuously living on medicines, Waseem has to look after his old aged mother, which he is unable to do. The family claims that neither government nor any other nongovernmental organisation