February 2018 News

Villagers In Kashmir Proud Of Sacrifices Of Soldiers

11 February 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: A pall of gloom descended on Maidanpora village in North Kashmir's picturesque Lolab Valley as people heard about the death of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), Mohammad Ashraf Mir. He was among five army personnel killed in Sunj-uwan Army camp attack in Jammu yesterday. A large number of people in the Maidanpora village area are either in Army or police. The villagers are proud of Mir for his sacrifice. Majority of the people in the village were unaware about the death of Mir but as media persons cars zoomed past the dusty narrow road leading to the village, villagers came running to the martyred army officer's residence. His father, however, was aware about Mir's death. His grandson Salman Ashraf who was also in the camp at the time of attack had called him to break the sad news. Mir's father is very poor and was living with elder son who was the only breadwinner for the family of seven. 'He sacrificed his life for the nation and we are also ready to sacrifice our life for the nation. Last week we spoke on phone when he reached the camp from training. We came to know yesterday in the evening about the attack and were very upset', he said. Mir's one brother is also in Army and is posted in Jammu as well. Not deterred by the killing of his brother, younger brother of Mir who is doing farming said: 'My brother has sacrificed himself for the country. I will take forward his mission of serving the nation, by joining the Army.' Hailing from poor family, Mir served in the Army for 23 years. He is survived by three children - Salman Ashraf,Rashid Ashraf and Tamana Ashraf-, wife Mafooza Begum and elderly parents. The neigbours are proud of the son of the soil who sacrificed his life for the nation and appealed Army to support the family. Mir's neighbor Ghulam Nabi Khan says: 'He was doing his job and supporting his family. He sacrificed his life for the nation. Our appeal to the Government is to look after his family. They should be given benefits so that the family would not suffer. We are very proud of him as he sacrificed his life for the nation.' Another neighbor Ghulam Nabi Khan says: 'We are proud that he sacrificed his life for his country. He belonged to a poor family and was their only source of income. We want Government to take care of his family and provide them all the benefits they deserve.' Another neighbor Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din appealed Prime Minister, Narender Modi to hold talks for ending bloodshed. 'Government should initiate talks with Pakistan to end this bloodshed. It is Kashmiris who are getting killed on both sides. Children are losing their parents and orphaned here. I want to ask Prime Minister, Modi, why is he turning a blind eye to the crisis in Kashmir. If he visits foreign lands why cannot he talk to Pakistan and end blood shed here.' Batpora village in North Kashmir's Kupwara district is also in gloom over the killing of Havaldaar Habib-Ullah Quereshi. He is survived by wife Hameeda Banoo and a girl child Masrat Jan. His family was also living in the camp and was there at the time of the attack. Nayik Manzoor Ahmad Deva of Kewer Qazigund is survived by wife Afroza Akhtar and two minor daughters - Rutba Manzoor and Adeeba Manzoor. Large numbers of people had gathered at the residence of Mohammad Iqbal Sheikh at Nigeenpora (Hafooo) in Tral area of Pulwama district. Iqbal and his father Ghulam Mohidin Sheikh were killed on Saturday morning in the attack. Ghulam Mohidin Sheikh went to Jammu a month before and was staying with his son in Army camp when attack took place. Iqbal is survived by his wife Shabnam Banoo and minor son Asrar-ul-Haq. The villagers and the relatives are waiting for the bodies to arrive to pay last respect to them. They have been told that the bodies will arrive tomorrow.