M A I N   N E W S

Girls pay with life for getting education
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

Keller, July 20
Nageena (18) and Parveena Akhtar (17) were the most educated members of their families who hoped that would one day land jobs and pull them out of their impoverished existence. Both were shot dead by militants in their homes in Keller, about 50 km from Srinagar.
Family members of Nageena, who was killed inside her house by unidentified gunmen at Keller Shopian
Family members of Nageena, who was killed inside her house by unidentified gunmen at Keller Shopian on Sunday,
show her photograph. Tribune photo: Mohd Amin War

The motive for their murders on the nights of June 3 and July 23 in full view of their family members is the militants’ attempt to thrust their moral code on society, police sources say. “They do not want girls to study and they would go to the extreme to implement their agenda.”

Militants claim that girls worked for security agencies, a usual excuse floated by them for civilian killings, but the police and villagers have dismissed their claims.

“I was never warned. Three militants carrying guns turned up at my home and asked for Parveena. As we pointed to her, one of them burst several bullets into her,” her father, Ghulam Ahmad Dar, a casual worker, said. Residents of his village, Mujpathri, fear the wanton murder of Parveena , who studied in Class X, was an ominous sign of things to come at a time when they believed militants had disappeared from their area.

About 15 km from this village, Mohammad Sharif Awan, father of Nageena, who studies in Class XI, shares similar concerns at his one-room home. Such was the terror among the residents of Pahliopora village that no neighbour came to his house or informed cops for the whole night even as his daughter slowly succumbed to her injuries.

Shopian SP Shahid Meraj admits that militants have benefited from the long strike in Shopian and increased their activities. “They want people to follow their moral code but we would step up our anti-terrorist drive,” he says.

The Pulwama-Shopian belt in south Kashmir has of late seen increasing coordination among militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, of late as they try to revive their fortunesin a belt where they enjoy the sympathy of a section of society due to a strong presence of the pro-Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami.

It is no coincidence that a village like Mujpathri had seen brisk polling in the Assembly elections despite the separatist-sponsored boycott call eliciting a better response in this belt than most other places.

Some weeks back, militants had shot dead a nambardar in Keller and the police believes it could be because his relative is a police official.

It’s only ironical that residents of Shopian ran a 47-day-long strike blaming law-enforcing agencies for rape and murder of Neelofar Jan and Asiya Jan while the killings of Nageena and Parveena Akhtar by militants went almost unnoticed. “My daughter died in my lap. Nobody came for help. It does not matter if anybody comes now,” says Sharif when asked if any senior official or politician has visited him.



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