SRINAGAR — Bashir Ahmed Khan, 65, took his grandson along early this morning for a long ride from Srinagar to Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, where he was supposed to oversee the progress of a construction work at one of his projects. Khan, being a contractor, was heading towards the construction site in Sopore but little did he knew that he will not return home alive.

His grandson had a miraculous escape. The little boy identified as Ayaad, 3, could be seen sitting on the chest of his grandfather in one of the pictures that went viral on social media, which shook entire Kashmir and made every eye moist. He was perhaps trying to wake up his dead grandfather, unmindful of the reality that “his Dadu was no more.”

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What added to the grief of the family members more than the death of Khan was a video showing little boy in a police vehicle, saying in broken Kashmiri, “Be gache gare (I want to go home)”. Police men provided him a bunch of chocolates and rolls of biscuits to ensure he doesn’t cry much and come out of the shock.

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Another picture that went viral shows a security forces’ man asking the little boy to come towards him. Perhaps that was during the live action when exchange of fire was on.

Two Frames of the story: The deceased Bilal Khan (Left) and his grandson Ayaad after brought to his home in Srinagar (Right)
Two Frames of the story: The deceased Bilal Khan (Left) and his grandson Ayaad after brought to his home in Srinagar (Right) | Photo by Faisal Khan

J&K Police uploaded a picture on its official Twitter account, showing a policeman holding the little Ayaad in his lap. The tweet reads: “JKP #rescued a three years old boy from getting hit by bullets during #militant #attack in #Sopore.”

At the HMT, Srinagar residence of slain Khan, a pall of gloom descended on the family and entire locality. “My father has been killed and those who killed him should be killed as well. Didn’t they see a little kid along with my father,” cried slain man’s daughter, in a deep shock and grief. Slain Khan’s son alleged that “his father was dragged out of his vehicle and fired at.”

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Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sopore Javaid Iqbal said that the slain main first saved his grandson and in between he was hit by bullets. “There were many other vehicles stuck at the spot due to the attack. They left their vehicles behind and ran for cover. Unfortunately, one of the civilians was hit by bullets and died,” the SSP said.

CRPF, in a brief statement, said that when deployment of their men was being made at model town Sopore for patrolling duties, militants hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque fired indiscriminately on troops, resulting in injuries to four CRPF men of which Head Constable Dipchand Verma got killed and other three Bhoya Rajesh, Deepak Patil and Nilesh Chawde sustained injuries. “One civilian died on the spot in the militant act,” the statement read.

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