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.”