Dalipora (Chadoora), Jan 01: “We ate in one plate, and shared the pillow,” wails 31-year-old Javed Ahmad Ganai of his missing twin brother, Sharif Ud Din Ganai.
Sitting in a cold, dimly-lit room on the first floor of their newly-constructed house, Javed refuses tea and bread offered by his close relative.
Sharif was among the five CRPF men killed in an encounter with militants at Lethpora, Pulwama, on Sunday.
As Javed describes his twin, tears roll down his face, making the eldest of the siblings, Feroz Ahmad Ganai, console him.
“This would not do. Abba downstairs would die otherwise. We have to face it,” a composed Feroz tells the younger brother.
To this, Javed has a few sips from the cup of tea.
As per a close relative, the twins shared a close bond.
Javed, following Sharif who joined the CRPF in 2006, got himself into the Indian Reserve Police (IRP).
To add to the family’s tragedy, Sharif as per his uncle, Hilal Ahmad Ganai was engaged last year with his wedding scheduled in spring.
“We planned their marriages step by step, but Almighty had planned otherwise,” says Hilal.
Besides Feroz and Javed, Sharif is survived by parents, three sisters, and younger brother.
In utter shock, Ghulam Ahmad Ganai, Sharif’s father, a postman who has joined his daughters and other women in the lobby of the house, wails: “Where are you Sharif, I would die for your tall stature.”
A couple of close relatives suggested not talking to the shocked father.
“He would not answer you properly. You would ask a thing to which he would give a different answer. He is not mentally stable at present,” a relative said.
To relatives and friends, Sharif had “nothing to with militancy operations”.
Apparently referring to the anti-militancy operations, a close relative says, “He was not in the field, but a physical trainer at the centre.”
“Ask anybody in the area about his behaviour,” another relative vouching for Sharif emphasised.
Comparing him with his “gentleman” father Ganai, a neighbour describing slain Sharif, said, “Like father like son”.
Conscious about the risk taking a job in the CRPF means to a Kashmiri, the relatives however cite “financial compulsions” behind Sharif joining the force.
“It was only for earning a livelihood. And it is all destiny,” says a relative. “And there are scores of Kashmiris who are serving in the force.”
Post a salute by the CRPF at Sharif’s funeral on Sunday evening and thousands others offering the prayers as per a relative, the area remained normal with shops even in the Ganais’ native village Dalipora open and traffic plying as usual.
While the aftermath has been the opposite over the militants’ killings, one of Sharif’s cousins, not willing to disclose name, draws the comparison between Sharif and slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Yaseen Yatoo alias Ghaznavi, who used to be the Ganais’ neighbour and was killed in an encounter earlier.
The cousin remarked, “Whether he (Yaseen) was a martyr or Sharif is, the thing is that both of them were Kashmiris.”
Home Minister Amit Shah reviews situation in J&K
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the two-hour long meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba among others, the home minister was given a detailed presentation on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly along the International Border and the Line of Control.
The home minister took stock of the situation and was briefed about the steps taken to maintain peace along border areas as well as in the Valley, a security official said.
Lieutenant General K J S Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, which looks after the Kashmir Valley, had recently said there have been infiltration attempts from across the border.
SC allows Azad to visit J&K
The Supreme Court of India on September 16 allowed senior Indian National Congress leader and former Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit his home state.
The apex court allowed Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu.
However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said Azad will not be allowed to “make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions”.
Azad had moved SC seeking permission to visit his home state to enquire about the well-being of his family.
Azad’s petition was taken up by a bench of CJI Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer on September 16.
There are formidable reasons, says SC on J&K curbs
The Supreme Court asked the government to take all steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed there were “formidable reasons” for the restrictions imposed by the government.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which took up a bunch of petitions on the scrapped special status for the state and its impact, also accepted a request from Ghulam Nabi Azad to travel to four districts to reach out to people and ascertain their problems.
Chief Justice Gogoi also responded to a complaint that people weren’t able to approach the high court, offered to ascertain the situation and if need be, even travel to the state.
Justice SA Bobde, one of the three judges on the bench, responded to the Attorney General’s outline of the situation in Kashmir: “These are formidable reasons. A terrible state of affairs”.
“We trust you will endeavour to establish the situation in Kashmir,” the judge told the Centre, asking the government to file an affidavit within two weeks.
Venugopal rejected the contention by journalist Anuradha Bhasin about curbs on media in Kashmir, asserting that all newspapers were being published without any impediment.
At one point when the judges asked a petitioner why he didn’t approach the high court, the bench was told that the complete shutdown prevented people from reaching the court. Chief Justice Gogoi took serious note of the argument and said he would speak with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Justice to ascertain the facts and if necessary, travel to the state.