Relatives of the victims of Udhampur mob attack Monday demanded that the attackers should be hanged. “We do not want anything from the government, except that the killers who murdered our Zahid and critically injured Showkat must be hanged. Just booking and arresting the attackers won’t heal our wounds,” Moulvi Ashraf told KNS over phone from New Delhi, where he is attending to his brother-in-law Showkat Ahmad, who has been admitted in Safdar Gunj Hospital. Zahid Rasool Bhat and Showkat Ahmad were attacked by a violent mob with petrol bombs and set afire in Udhampur in the night of October 9-10 when they had parked their truck on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. After being admitted in a government hospital in Jammu, they were flown to New Delhi for treatment. However, Zahid, 18, lost his battle of life to his grave burn injuries on October 18 forenoon in the hospital, while Showkat is battling for life. Shokat Ahmad has three little children, one son and two daughters, while Zahid is survived by his parents and six siblings. Ashraf said that the government has arrested the attackers but their main kingpin has not been arrested yet. “Why and on whose behest have the attackers killed Zahid and grievously injured Showkat is not yet known. Police has not revealed anything to us yet about the perpetrators of the murderous act,” he said. “The government should reveal to us the real story about the incident and take responsibility of it. Who are the people behind the killing and why did they attack Kashmiris Muslims,” he said. He said that why does it always happen with Kashmiri Muslim drivers that they are killed and attacked by Hindus in Jammu “even when Hindu drivers freely drive in Kashmir.” “Even today when Kashmir is in rage over Zahid’s killing, so many Hindus drivers from Jammu would be present in Srinagar with their cabs. But no Muslim attacks them or threatens them. Why does it always happen with Kashmiri Muslims in Jammu,” he questioned. The attack, Ashraf said, has left many Kashmiri drivers scared about going to Jammu. “After the attack, many drivers I know fear to ferry their cars to Jammu. They feel very unsafe going there,” he said. The government today announced a compensation of 5 lakh and a job to one of the kin of Zahid and two lakh to Showkat. But the relatives said that only hanging of the attackers would sooth their pain a little. “Can money and job bring back Zahid to life and heal our pain and wounds. If the government is really serious, then it should reveal the whole story about the attack and hang the attackers. Only that can set a message that innocents should never be attacked and nobody would ever try to do such heinous acts,” he said. The families have blamed the government for the attack, saying that “Hindu fanatics have been given a free hand.” Following Zahid’s death nine days after the attack, the government yesterday said all the nine attackers were booked under section 302 (murder).
2015 Kashmir Despatch