“I feel an external soul entering my body and I find myself loitering near a spring in my orchard with Neelofar. Suddenly she yelled, “Asiya…Asiya’ while pointing towards a house nearby Nala Rambi Ara.”
“Neelofar looks worried. She asks me to bring Asiya back. But I could not see her there. I tried to calm her but she starts running barefooted towards the house exhorting me to follow her.”
“I saw a man coming out of the house grabbing Asiya by her hair. I looked back and Neelofar was gone. A soul comes out of my body. I wake up to find myself covered in sweat.’’
Shakeel Ahmed narrates his nightmare that started the day when his wife Neelofar and sister Asiya were allegedly raped, and then ‘drowned’ in a stream in Shopian, in the intervening night of May 29th and 30th in 2009.
After many twists and turns, protests, undeclared curfews, reports and commissions, the case was finally handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). They shut it by calling it a case of drowning.
Ahmed, a shopkeeper is continuously fighting for justice.
While recalling his dreadful dream, Ahmed fumbles for words.
He pauses, mumbles, splutters some gibberish, and pauses again.
“The last 8 years have been abominable for my family, “Ahmed says.
He adds, “Almost every member of my family visits a psychiatrist four days a week. They advised us not to retrospect but their ubiquitousness evokes many poignant memories. I always keep a handkerchief to avoid tears from rolling down my face.”
Ahmed says that the worst hit by the tragedy was his now 10-year old son Suzain. He was just two when his mother died.
“Bringing him up these eight years was the toughest job for my family because for first three years he would not sleep for more than 3 hours a night and would cry while asleep.
I could not scold him for his bad grades. He would surmise objects in lieu of his mother. He would place himself between two big objects calling them mom and dad,” Ahmed observes.
Ahmed further adds, “He relates everything with his life as if he is the only orphan in the world. At the age of ten, his character is immature but his conduct is mature. He misses his mother but perniciously conceals that feeling from everyone.”
Ahmed believes that the case was so clear and there was so much evidence that even a minor could solve it.
“Unlike other cases, this case had all the evidences and even a minor could have solved it. But the culprits were themselves doing the investigation,” said Ahmed.
Ahmed recalls how Justice Muzaffar Jan report held the administration responsible for destroying evidence in the case, still nothing happened.
“Muzaffar Jan report first held district administration guilty of ‘destroying vital evidence, interfering with post mortem and dereliction of duty, which led to the suspension and arrest of four police officers and later the CBI charged doctors for fudging and fabricating the evidences and the four police men were released and reinstated.
All commissions and reports are a waste of time,” Ahmed feels. He was also booked, in what he terms was an attempt to frame him, to “pressurise him to give up his fight for justice.”
Ahmed said that when Mehbooba Mufti was out of power, it was due to her that an FIR was lodged in the case. He says they had lot of expectations after she became Chief Minister.
“She is silent now,” says Ahmed.
‘’We had lot of expectations. When not in power, she was very vocal and it was on her insistence that police had registered an FIR in the case. Whenever she visited Shopian she promise action against the culprits but now she is nowhere to be seen,” Ahmed points out.
The bereaved family wants Mehbooba- led government to reopen the case and fulfill her promise and to provide them justice.