Srinagar: Under the gigantic Chinar, six-year-old Suzain Shakeel in a crisp kurta-payjama sits silent in the lap of his grandfather at Sher-e-Kashmir Park, the venue of parallel music event Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir.
Wearing a white protest head band, the boy tries to adjust the banner inscribed with slogans seeking justice for his mother Neelofar and aunt Aasiya who were allegedly “raped and murdered” in Shopian in 2009.
“Who killed my mother and aunt? Why is not justice done to us?” he asks in a soft childish voice. The bodies of Neelofar and her sister-in-law Aasiya were fished out from a stream at Shopian on May 30, 2009 a day after they went missing. The family members and locals had alleged that they were raped and murdered before their bodies were dumped into the local stream, sparking off massive protests across the valley.
Under pressure, the J&K government handed over the case to the CBI for investigation, which eventually ruled-out rape and murder of two women of Shopian and concluded that both Neelofar and Aasiya died of drowning in the Rambair Nallah (local stream).
Suzain was just 18 months old when his mother died. Life moved on albeit the wounds never healed. He was admitted in a local school where he is now in LKG.
Suzain’s father says he always misses his mother and always talks about justice.
“He takes full interest in putting on black flags and banners at our house every year to mark our protest for injustice. And on death anniversary he goes early to the graveyard to remember his mother and aunt,” said Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, father of Suzain.
Suzain walked around the park to have a glance around the banners and photographs highlighting the tragedy and trauma that people encountered. “We want justice. We want all the culprits to be jailed. Till then we will continue to fight.
Suzain has picked up the mantle to seek justice at a very tender age,” said Syed Abdul High, grandfather of Suzain.