Abdul Rasheed Bhat, 60, lost his son Javaid, 22, in a blast followed by a firing incident on the banks of the Dal Lake in 2006. Javaid, a driver by profession, was the sole bread-earner for the family. “Words cannot describe my family’s suffering,” he says, as a tear trickles down his cheeks. Bhat heads a family of 12, and finds it hard to work with his asthmatic condition. He does not even have the money to purchase his medicine. The family is living on the paltry earnings of his other son Farooq, a daily wage labourer.
“The government gave us ex-gratia relief of Rs. 1 lakh. We spent it on the repair of the house as we were shivering in winter,” says Bhat. “I once went to forest minister Qazi Afzal’s residence at Ganderbal to seek help. He was not there. I had no bus fare. His PA gave me Rs 10 as bus fare,” says Bhat’s wife.
Thirteen-year old Shimaila’s story is even more painful. She was two years old when her mother, a government employee died in a bomb blast outside a sweet shop near Regal Chowk in Srinagar in 1997. Her businessman father couldn’t cope with his wife’s loss and went missing soon after, leaving behind Shimaila.