MURDER MOST FOUL

  • Ejaz-ul-haq Bhat
  • Publish Date: Oct 21 2017 1:00AM
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  • Updated Date: Oct 21 2017 1:00AM
MURDER MOST FOUL

Who killed Muzaffar Ahmad Parrey of Hajin?

   

 

Torture, intimidation, imprisonment, harassment at the hands of government forces and the Ikhwan counter insurgents -- the Parrey family of about 30 members in Parrey Mohalla, Hajin, has seen it all. But nothing would have prepared for this: the “gruesome murder” of a family member, Muzaffar Ahmad Parrey alias Muzaffar Nata, whose decapitated body was recovered from the Jhelum last month.

The severed head of Muzaffar, who was a butcher and ace Kabaddi player, is yet to be found.

His family can't quite fathom why he was murdered. His mother, Rafeeqa Begum, is unable to speak from the shock.

Sources in the police claim Muzaffar was an overground operative of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and that he had been arrested by the police a few months ago, indicating that could have had something to do with his killing. They say his photos of a couple of months ago, in which he is seen holding an AK-47 rifle, had gone viral on social media.

Muzaffar's father, Farooq Ahmad Parrey, the head of the 30-member joint family, looks like his very life has gone out of him.

“Muzaffar had returned home only less than a month ago after spending around two months in police custody on charges of being a conduit for the Lashkar-e-Toiba in the area and for stone-throwing. After his release, he was bed-ridden for 15 days because of the torture he had been subjected to at the police station in Sumbal,” says his uncle, Khursheed Ahmad Parrey.

He says Muzaffar was arrested by the Hajin police a day before Ramazan began and held for nearly 50 days. “Three days prior to his release, he was shifted to the police station in Sumbal where he was severely tortured. He could not even stand on his legs. We shifted him to CHC Hajin, where doctors referred him to JVC Bemina for further treatment. He was in JVC for a night,” Khursheed says.

"We are a joint family of around 30 members," says Mehraj-ud-Din Parray, another uncle of Muzaffar. "He was running a butcher’s shop in the locality but after his release from detention, he could not resume his business. He would keep himself busy at home, overseeing the construction of our new house.”

Muzaffar was a pious Muslim and was passionate about “Kashmir’s freedom struggle”, Rameez says, he would offer five-time prayers and would never miss a prayer.

On August 24, Muzaffar left home at around 5 pm. “That evening, he went to his aunt’s place for dinner. After finishing dinner at around 8:30 pm, he headed for night prayers at the mosque. At around 8:45 pm, he was seen by his maternal uncle sitting near his shop,” says Reyaz Ahmad Parrey, another uncle.

The maternal uncle asked Muzaffar's what he was doing out so late. "Muzaffar told him he would go home in a while but he did not return. On that night, at around 12:30 am, an Army patrol came to the village. Some of them were in civvies. At the time of the morning prayers the next day, some villagers saw blood stains and a skull cap near Banger Mohalla on the river bank,” Reyaz says. The implication, of course, is that the army patrol murdered his nephew and threw his body into the river.

To this back up, Reyaz points out that his family has long being victimised by government forces. “In 2011, ten members of our family, including Muzaffar, were arrested by the police during nocturnal raids. We were in detention for 16 days. I was also in detention.”

Two of his nephews -- Arif and Parvaiz -- have been held in Sub Jail Baramulla for three months now. “They were arrested by the police allegedly for enabling militants kill Abdul Rashid Parrey, alias Rashid Billa. Almost every member of the family has a case registered against him at the police station,” he says. 

Reyaz further points out that Muzaffar's body was fished out of the river just a half a kilometer downstream from Banger Mohalla, where people had seen blood stains and a skull cap two days previously.

His cousin Rameez says he identified Muzaffar from his clothes. “He wore my clothes when he came to have dinner at my home the night he went missing. He was wearing the same clothes when his body was recovered,” he says.