Tears rolling down her wrinkled face, 70-year-old Bibi Jaan paused frequently to search for words between her sobs when she narrated her story to the “important people from Delhi”.
Hoping that the meeting would ensure the release of her 22-year-old grandson Samir Ahmed Mir, she was the only victim of the current unrest who chose to meet the 39-member all-party delegation on Monday.
Mir, a daily labourer in a sawmill in Sopore, was arrested about three months ago, as there was some stone-pelting incident in the area. “He was mistaken for a stone-thrower and was arrested on his way home.”
Visibly uncomfortable, but determined to defend the only breadwinner of her family, she said she had tried every possible way to get her grandson out.
Bibi Jaan told the stunned delegation members that she had paid a bribe of R20,000 for Mir’s release. “I was told he would be released for the Eid, but that never happened.”
She said, “No police officer will come to my house, but I did pay somebody who claimed to be a broker. I had to sell the only piece of land that the family had.”
The unlettered woman, accompanied by her local legislator, Engineer Rashid, an independent from Langate area in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, said she and her grandchildren lived in a rented accommodation in Sopore.
“We left Kupwara when my son crossed over to Pakistan 20 years ago. I wanted to bring up the children away from their past,” she said.
But now, the family is back in Kupwara. “We would have been forced to beg had we stayed back in Sopore as we were left with nothing.”