Showkat Ahmad (33), a resident of downtown Srinagar’s Lal Bazaar area, died on Wednesday evening after prolonged illness at a hospital in Srinagar. The family kept his body at home for the night as they failed to secure a curfew pass to go out and bury him.
“It was not possible for the family to secure a curfew pass for the mourners or the deceased. We tried but were not allowed to perform the last rites,” said Rayees Qureshi, a relative of Ahmad.
A curfew has been imposed at seven police stations in Srinagar and severe security restrictions in other areas in wake of 11 killings in the last couple of weeks. To keep protesters at bay, heavy security bandobast is in place.
On Thursday around 7 am, Professor Mir Hussain Ahmad, father of the deceased, secured curfew passes for a few close relatives and headed for Ahmad’s ancestral graveyard at Malkah near the volatile Nowhatta area.
“We were stopped at a number of places. The coffin was checked. A load-career carrying mourners too was stopped for questioning,” said Qureshi.
It was only after one of the relatives approached senior police officers that the coffin was allowed to proceed without interruption for the last rites. “The family approached the Hazratbal Police Station, which provided two constables to accompany the coffin to the graveyard,” said Qureshi.
The body was later buried around 9 pm and it took more than two hours to cover a 25-minute drive to the graveyard.