Ghulam Mohammad Mir remembers every detail of the day his son Bilal Ahmad left home six years ago, never to return. His family had just finished their morning tea when his son got a call from his employer to report to work immediately with the official jeep.
According to Mir, six militants of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba waylaid Bilal and his boss, locked them up in a house and left with their jeep. But security forces intercepted the militants and killed them after a fierce battle. Meanwhile, other militants set Bilal and his boss free. Bilal went straight to the police to lodge a complaint, but instead of registering their complaint, the police let the boss go and detained Bilal. Two day’s later, Bilal’s bullet-riddled body was recovered.
The police claimed Bilal had died in the struggle with the militants, but the public, and politicians like Mufti Mohammad Sayed, did not buy this story.
“I went to the police to lodge an FIR,” said Mir, his voice choking. “But they refused, and even warned me not to pursue the case.” Mir then went to court. The judicial magistrate instructed the police to file an FIR. But even then, nothing happened. Mir then approached the High Court two years ago, which finally last week sought an explanation for Bilal’s death from the state government.
Bilal’s death has devastated the family, psychologically and economically. His wife had just given birth to a son 10 days before his death. Along with her son and daughter, she has returned to her father’s home.
Mir did not any receive any ex-gratia payment from the employers, nor is the insurance company willing to entertain any claims in the absence of an FIR. His only hope is the high court and public.