The last thing Amir Nazir Lattoo shared on Facebook, before he died of a bullet injury during the ongoing Kashmir unrest, was a black-and-white graphic of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani’s face with the words, “This isn’t 1 less Burhan, it’s 100 more Burhans”.
The 22-year-old former student of Delhi University from Anantnag described himself as “a simple guy” on his social media profile. And everything before the Wani post presented Lattoo as a man of simple taste — most posts expressed his love of Rumi’s poetry, photography, and friends and family.
On one photograph, uploaded a month ago, in which he is seen performing a stunt on his motorbike, one of his friends commented: “Sambal ke bhai....tu waise bhi Paul Walker se kam nhn hai (Be careful brother, you are no less than Paul Walker anyway)”.
In another post, he quotes Rumi: “Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes/Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation”.
In yet another post, a photo of his batch-mates at Zakir Hussain college, he wrote: “These people made me who I am, gave me memories which I will remember throughout my life.” Today, those friends are posting their condolences in the comment section of the photo.
Lattoo completed his Bachelor of Commerce from Zakir Husain Evening College earlier this year and was going to join Aligarh Muslim University on July 19 for masters. He was home for the Eid holidays, family members said.
Early on Tuesday morning, as his relatives waited pensively at a blood bank to arrange B-negative type blood for transfusion, Lattoo succumbed to the bullet injury he had received a day earlier at Bijbehara — the hometown of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Amidst shouts of anti-India and anti-PDP slogans, Lattoo’s funeral in Bijbehara on Tuesday was attended by hundreds of people who defied curfew to be there.
Lattoo’s is a family of artisans. His father is an expert of Kashmiri silver-thread embroidery and they are “a humble family”, said a relative who did not wish to be named. Lattoo is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.
A selfie Lattoo shared on Facebook earlier this year is being shared widely on social media by those mourning his death, and has become the face of the 34 victims of the ongoing turmoil in the state.
Kashmir has been on the boil since 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a popular social media-savvy militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen, and two others were killed on Friday when security forces cornered them in the Kokernag area of Anantnag. In addition to the more than 30 fatalities, hundreds of civilians and security personnel have been injured in the protests.
His family claims that Lattoo was not a part of the agitating youth, and was sitting with his friends when the security forces opened fire.
“On the other side of the Jhelum, protesters were clashing with forces and policemen were chasing them. But Amir was sitting on this side, called Dhobi Ghat in Baba Mohalla,” said a family member. “Why did they open fire on the boys sitting peacefully on this side?”
Anantnag superintendent of police Abdul Jabbar refused to comment for the report, and calls to a Srinagar-based police spokesperson went unanswered. The official press release of the police on the situation in Kashmir also does not offer details of the circumstances surrounding the death of Lattoo.