Year 1991 (Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir): Militants came to attack a BSF camp housed inside the premises of a Hindu temple in one of the localities of Srinagar. Before attacking, gunmen asked civilians around to leave for safer places. After most of the shopkeepers and shoppers left the place, militants struck the BSF picket with awe. Gunfight ensued for 15 minutes. Few BSF men sustained gunshot wounds. Militants made good their escape in the melee.
Nearby in the neighbourhood few local boys were playing cricket in an open field. During all the 15 minute gunfight, boys had taken a cover behind a garbage dumper which was placed on the edge of the field. Boys perhaps were taken unawares by the sudden gunfight. No one had informed them about the impending gunfight.
As soon as boys understood that the fight has ended, they started running towards their homes. As boys ran towards the main road, they found a posse of BSF men running towards them. Boys got alarmed. They slipped into an alley nearby. On both sides of that alley there were houses belonging mostly to Kashmiri Pandits. It was a highly congested place. Some of the boys ran faster and crossed the alley into other side of the area. They entered into a safer zone. But two of the boys were not that fast. They lagged behind and hence prefered to take shelter inside a Pandit house. Once they entered into the Pandit house, Motilal, the house owner asked them about the reason for tresspassing into his house. Boys said, “Uncle military is running after us. They are angry over the firing by Mujahids”. Motilal quickly took them inside and hid them in the store room. BSF men came knocking on the door of Motilal. The door was opened, a short conversation took place between Motilal and the BSF men. Soon after BSF men entered into the house, they went towards the store room. Broke opened the door and pumped dozens of bullets into all directions in the room. Screams of boys became louder and louder till screams turned into sobs. There were weeping cries, “Mummy”. Then an eerie silence prevailed. Tanveer and Aadil laid drenched in the pool of blood. They were dead with bullet holes on all parts of their bodies. Two more lads of Kashmir had fallen. They were laid to rest in a graveyard reserved only for the martyrs. Their parents were distraught. Whole locality went into mourning and sobbing mothers wept their tears dry.
Motilal, left the area soon after along with his whole family. He was not blamed for anything by anyone. He just migrated to Jammu out of fear.
Year 2000: Someone informed the people of that neighbourhood that Motilal is suffering from the last stages of cancer and is admitted in a tertiary care hospital at Delhi. Keeping in view his reputation in the neighbourhood, two of his old neighbours from the area decided to leave for Delhi to enquire about his health. They wanted to give him some moments of joy.
Abdul Majeed and Nazir Ahmed reached Delhi and straight away took a Taxi to Apollo Hospital. Abdul Majeed is father of Tanveer and Nazir Ahmed, uncle of Aadil. They were greeted by Bansilal, brother of Motilal at the entrance of the hospital. They both had been in touch with Bansilal over telephone. Both of them were taken to the ICU where Motilal was admitted. He was bearing the excruciating cancer pain. Pain killers were not effective on him anymore. Motilal recognised Abdul Majeed straightaway. He said, “Budyomut chukh” (you have grown old). Majeed said, “Don’t talk much, I am here to see you. Inshaallah you will get well soon”. Motilal wept profusely. He kept on saying, “Mya diyee zi maefee. Dayaa karzi me peth” (Forgive me, have mercy on me). Abdul Majeed replied, “You did nothing wrong, it was the fate that my lad got killed in your house”.
Motilal took a long breath and in sobbing voice said, “Your boy was killed because of me, It was me who told BSF men that boys had taken shelter in my house. I got them killed. Please forgive me so that I could die peacefully”.
Abdul Majeed, “Ah! Why did you tell me this. Earlier it was my son who got killed, now you have pierced my soul”.
With shaken trust both of them returned back. The martyrs graveyard has been populated manifold since those boys entered it. Every martyr there has a story of broken trust to tell. Every Motilal does not confess on the deathbed. Most of them die with burdens of guilt hanging over their necks forever. In the hereafter, they shall be made to confess but then it will be all meaningless.
Note: Names of people in the write-up are imaginary.