The family of Suhail Ahangar, one of the two cops killed in militant strike in Barzalla, is re-living a tragic and sordid past that had hit them hard 30 years ago.
First father and now the son dead, the misfortune is strikingly identical in many ways barring one — dad took up a gun to fight against the uniform and son to fight for it.
Tragedy revisited the family a second time in the last three decades when constable Ahangar fell to a militant’s bullets in Srinagar on Friday. Close relatives and friends recount the fall of 1989 when Mushtaq Ahmad Ahangar, Suhail’s father, one day went missing from home never to return again. From that day, the family has never been the same again. It has faced many trials and tribulations but the most tragic event happened on Friday when Suhail fell to a deadly militant strike.
Rashid Khan, a relative of Ahangar family, said Suhail was born five months after his father Mushtaq Ahmad went missing in1989. Till date, the family has no information about him and presume him to be dead.
Mushtaq, then about 30, had left behind unborn Suhail and his elder sister.
On Friday, when Suhail was killed in a hail of indiscriminate firing by a militant, he was 30 too. Suhail is also survived by two children, aged four years and 18 months.
“This is an enormous tragedy for the family. It is so familiar to what happened to them 30 years ago. Seems we are mourning Mushtaq Sahib’s death,” Khan told News 18.com. “We were devastated then, we are devastated now.”
Relatives recalled that Mushtaq had crossed the Line of Control to enroll as a militant but he was apparently killed while trying to infiltrate into the Indian side after receiving arms training on the other side of the boundary.
“We have no definitive information about what happened to him. Some say he was killed on the border in 1990 while trying to come in but we never found his body,” said a relative.
The family would check with relatives of other militants and police if they got any clue but till date they have not been successful in finding anything about him. So they presumed he might have died.
Friends and relatives are bewildered and aghast at drawing comparison to the tragedies.
“It’s so sad that father and son lost their lives at around the same age; each of their two children were orphaned in similar fashion and almost the same age. Even their wives were widowed at the prime of their youth, in their mid 20s,” he regretted.
Suhail and his colleague, selection grade constable Mohammad Yousuf from Kupwara, were killed in a six-second attack at Barzulla, Srinagar. Closed circuit television footage obtained by the police revealed that a lone militant, whipped out an AK rifle under his pheran, and peppered the two policemen with bullets. Both were rushed to the hospital but succumbed at a city hospital later. Their funerals back home drew large crowds and teary-eyed family members and close friends.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the families and urged India and Pakistan to resume dialogue process and end the bloodshed in Kashmir. National Conference President and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah reiterated the demand of holding talks between the arch-rivals.