Aged Saleema is wiping her cheeks repeatedly but the tears continue to roll down. Her neighboring women are seen consoling her but the wails and tears from Saleema are unstoppable. Her son Bilal was killed by a bullet fired on a police vehicle yesterday at Padshahi Bagh, Bijbehara.

The resident of Malikpora Verinag, Bilal Ahmad was employed as SPO in J&K Police in December 2016, a year that saw South Kashmir on the boil. Bilal was engaged by the department after he had proved his fitness for the Job and was deputed with Police Station Bijbehara as a driver. Barely 17 months into his service, yesterday afternoon when he was maneuvering the police vehicle through the town at Padshahi Bagh Anantnag, militants fired upon the vehicle in which two cops sustained injuries. Bilal was immediately rushed to the Hospital but could not survive.

After passing his matriculation from Dooru Higher Secondary School, Bilal was eager to seek a job so that he could help his family and take the burden off from his father’s shoulder. He always wanted to provide a helping hand to his parents who were aging now. Slowly he had been able to step into his much-desired role. But for death, it snatched away Bilal leaving behind his memories only.

Born in 1992 Bilal has waded through many difficult phases of his life. His desire to contribute to the family earning grew after he saw his father Mohd Abbas Shah toiling hard and yet they suffered from many economic deprivations. His colleagues recollect that he had a deep desire to serve his parents. He now wanted them to live a life free of miseries and wants. He wanted to come out of this vicious cycle of poverty.

One of the cops posted with him at Bijbehara was ruing his loss. Known to be a jolly fellow among his group mates, Bilal would often volunteer himself for the humanitarian jobs. He was at the forefront when faced with any challenge. Such a brave soul he never ever complained about the poor economic conditions his family faced.

Ever since Bilal joined Police he would often talk about the coming good times for his family. He had a lot of hope from his earning.

In the other corner of his home is Zaina Begum mourning this tragic loss. She is the aged Grandmother of Bilal. She had seen Bilal as a kid growing up into a fair and handsome young face. She laments to have witnessed such a tragedy. Bilal was their only hope. He was the only breadwinner and lone support for his aged family. His father Mohd Abbas has grown frail and weak. He had his eyes cast on Bilal for facing any adversity. But now this tragedy has wrecked him and has brought him again on his own.

Besides Bilal, Mohd Abbas has a daughter who is elder than Bilal. She is unable to stop her tears after this tragedy befell. Her only brother Bilal had many things including her marriage planned for her. All those dreams have shattered now she feels. Bilal had supported the educational endeavors of her sister all along. It was due to his brother’s efforts that she has successfully completed her post-graduation. But now everything feels like devastated. Bilal’s loss has left a big void in their family. They have nobody left behind to earn bread. Parents are aged and frail. Grandmother is nearly at the edge. Bilal’s death has left them under the open sky vulnerable to the pangs of life. Who cares! Should we?

18 May 2018/Friday