Jammu man’s suicide: Family claims was being repeatedly questioned over terror attack
The family of a man, who was found dead by the side of a road in Jammu’s Nar area, has claimed that he was frequently being called by the police for questioning in connection with the April 20 terror attack on an Army vehicle that killed five soldiers in Poonch.
Mukhtar Hussain Shah (55), who is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, was found in an unconscious condition near Government High School, Nar on April 26 morning. He was rushed to a hospital at Mendhar and from there to Government Medical College Hospital at Rajouri, where he died that night.
He was buried the next day, even as locals held a demonstration and blocked the Bhimber Gali-Surankote road for nearly two hours.
His younger brother, Raftar, claimed that a few hours after the April 20 terror attack in Poonch, Mukhtar got a call from Gursai police station to appear there. He returned home after three days, on April 23, but the same night, he got a call from the police to visit Poonch, Raftar claimed.
“I took him to Jaranwali Gali the next morning on a motorcycle where two policemen from the Special Operation Group were waiting for him. Thereafter, we had no clue about him,” he claimed, adding that on April 26 morning, a villager called him and said Mukhtar was lying on the road.
A senior police officer, however, said Mukhtar was not a suspect, and that he might have been called for questioning, but that is routine procedure following such incidents.
Before he consumed what appears to be poisonous, Mukhtar recorded a video expressing anguish that no one believed him and that he had no links with terrorists. “Had I helped anybody, I would have readily accepted it, but it is absolutely wrong to pressure me or my family members about something about which I do not have knowledge of,” he says.
He said the police and Army action questioning villagers following the terror attack is justified, but added that “when I tell them the truth, they do not agree to it”. “They are right in their place, but I too swear on Allah that I am also innocent. Neither me, nor my family has any link with terrorists,” he said, adding that “my family members, brothers are being harassed”.
In the video, Mukhtar also claimed that he was, in fact, the one who informed the police and Rashtriya Rifles about the presence of terrorists in the area in 2021.
Four soldiers were killed in Bhatta Durian forests in an ambush by terrorists in October 2021. The combing and search operation by security forces continued for over a month, and was eventually called off without any result.
Raftar recalled that some unknown people had visited their house that year and asked them for food at gunpoint. They then locked the family in a room and disappeared in the nearby forests.
Raftar claimed that Mukhtar had then called the police officers at Mendhar and the nearby Rashtriya Rifles unit and informed them about the terrorists. “Since then, we have continued to live in fear,” Raftar said.
Sarpanch of Nar Panchayat, Aftab Khan, described Mukhtar’s family as “respectable”.
“We have been facing threats from terrorists since the mid-1990s for supporting the police and security forces,” said Raftar. “Our uncle Gulzar Hussain, a forest guard, and his wife and four children were killed by terrorists on September 24, 2000 as they suspected them to be informers.”