Gunfight was over before family could woo Rafi

Published at May 07, 2018 04:41 AM 0Comment(s)17475views

Gunfight was over before family could woo Rafi

Javid Ahmad

Srinagar, May 06:

On Friday, Assistant Professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat, 30, who was among the five Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants killed in a gunfight at Badigam village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday, made a routine phone call informing his family that he was returning home from Kashmir University (KU) and asked his family to keep dinner ready.
Two days later, Rafi made his last phone call to his father, Abdul Rahim Bhat only to say “sorry” if he had hurt the family.
The assistant professor at KU’s Sociology department, Rafi had gone missing after Friday prayers from the varsity campus in Srinagar.
To locate him, his family looked for him almost everywhere until they received a call from the Police that he was trapped in the cordon laid by the government forces at Badigam village in Shopian.
“At around 3:15 pm on Friday he called us over phone and informed us that he was coming to home and asked us to keep dinner ready,” said Rafi’s elder brother, Imtiyaz Ahmad.
Imtiyaz, a businessman and MBA, said, “After he went missing, at around 2 am on Friday, we went to the varsity to search him and looked for him in hospitals and police stations but to no avail.”
When the government forces carried a crackdown in Badigam, Rafi was trapped along with four Hizb militants.
It was around 7:55 am on Sunday when Rafi contacted his father and told him, “I’m trapped in cordon. I’m sorry! If I have hurt you, please forgive me.”
“Then he dropped the phone call,” Imtiyaz said.
Soon Police told Rafi’s father, a retired government employee from State’s Irrigation department, over phone that they should come to persuade him for surrender.
However, before Rafi’s father, mother, wife, brother, brother-in-law, friends, sister and few cousins could reach to the gunfight site, the encounter was over.
“We couldn’t make any appeal. The gunfight was over when we reached the area. It was a drama, the government forces made us go here and there till the encounter was over. They (forces) did this to humiliate us and nothing else,” Imtiyaz told Rising Kashmir over phone while the family was taking Rafi’s body home for last rites.
Rafi, a resident of Chundus in central Kashmir Ganderbal district qualified JRF/NET exam and was awarded Ph.D. in Sociology by the KU in November 2017 for his research on “Globalisation and Emerging Trends in Consumerism: A Comparative Study of Rural and Urban Kashmir.”
Married in 2012, Rafi was working as an Assistant Professor on contract basis in KU’s Social department for the past year-and-a-half.
He was the youngest of all siblings.
Rafi belonged to a well-off family and was known among his friends as generous men, who used to help the deserving. Stockiest
Earlier, according to reports, Rafi had worked as an Assistant Stockist in the State’s Animal Husbandry department but resigned later.
“He was religious-minded but jolly. No one expected he would join militancy. We are all shocked,” said a KU student, wishing not to be named.
Before going missing, Rafi had told his colleagues that he was going to attend some interview in some university in Hyderabad.
On whether Rafi had a reason to join militancy or whether he faced any harassment, Imtiyaz said, “There was no reason and I’m yet to understand anything.”
“Personally, he was never harassed by the government forces, he never spoke about militancy,” said Imtiyaz.
The varsity teacher was killed along with four other Hizb militants including top Hizb commander Sadam Padder in a gunfight with forces at Badigam, Shopian where Rafi was reportedly meeting Padder.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Shopian, Shailender Kumar Mishra asked militants to surrender but the militants did not relent.
“Stop firing and come out. Stop firing for God’s sake, it will yield nothing,” Mishra made the announcement which was followed by a rattle of gunfire.
Mishra admitted the gunfight was over before Rafi’s family arrived at the site.
“We halted the operation. We tried our best by repeatedly asking militants to surrender including Rafi but there was no response from militants. I also sent a phone inside the house but militants did not allow Rafi to surrender,” the S P Shopian said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in his funeral prayers and a university student, who could not be identified, reportedly addressed the gathering and spoke about Rafi.
During his address, the student said Rafi had been advising his students to adhere to the teachings of Islam and prophetic ethics.
“Our beloved teacher was strict in maintaining discipline, optimistic about freedom, and used to advise students to keep spirits up,” a student was heard addressing the gathering of mourners.
Hours before Rafi had gone missing, he had posted a picture of an Urdu poem his students had written for him and gifted a wristwatch to him.

The Poem:

(You are) Like a shade in scorching sun
(You are) Like a cool breeze
Every word of yours feels like a prayer
Like a cool, soothing breeze
You held our hands at every step
You removed darkness by spreading light
Neither there was nor there will be anyone like you
Like a shade in scorching sun
Like a cool breeze
No one understands us better than you
No one listens to us like you
Wherever you go, we will keep looking for you
(You are)Like a shade in scorching sun
(You are)Like a cool breeze
We all will miss you
Please don’t go, it will make us cry
Our world will be incomplete
(You are) Like a shade in scorching sun
(You are) Like a cool breeze
Don’t you cry if you hear us crying
We feel so sorry for ourselves
We were so happy to find you
Our tears are witness how much we are missing you
Only you taught us how to smile
You relieved us from all pain
Now we will be same as we were before
We will not be able to forget
Just our destiny now is to cry in your memory
We are all prayers for you
Although your prayers only are heard
We will try to pacify ourselves when
Your excruciating memory will tear our hearts apart
You have come here to light the candles
It is our ill luck that we lost you
We don’t want to say it but we will have to
Say the words of farewell, we bid you adieu
(With inputs by Tariq Rasool from Ganderbal)



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