October 2002 News

They hope Mehbooba will bring them justice

30 October 2002
The Indian Express
Mufti Islah

Srinagar: Haja has given blood three times for DNA tests, hoping to get justice for her only son Zahoor Ahmad Dalal. Zahoor was among the five men who were blamed for the Chittisinghpora massacre — in which 35 Sikhs were killed — and shot dead in an encounter at Panchalthan village in 2000. Earlier this year, Haja heard the first DNA test was fudged by state officials determined to hide the truth. She has dared to hope again: ‘‘The PDP-Congress government is our last hope...I will die peacefully only when my son’s killers are punished.’’ Some 20 km from Dalal’s house lies Brariangan village where families of Juma Khan and his namesake are still mourning their deaths. Mehri was left to raise a mentally-ill son plus six daughters on her own when her husband was killed. She was yet to recover from that blow when a week later, her son-in-law and another relative were shot dead in neighbouring Brakpora village. The two were participating in a protest march against the Panchalthan encounter and fell to police bullets. Mehri and her children survive on the maize they grow on their few kanals of land. ‘‘More than the father (Mufti), I believe the daughter will come to our aid,’’ says Mehri. Adds Mohammad Yousuf, Juma’s nephew: ‘‘We did not vote for Md Hussain (the PDP candidate from Shangus) but for Mehbooba this time. She feels our plight.’’

 

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