Kashmir terror attack: ‘I begged for our lives but they didn’t spare even my baby’

SRINAGAR: A 10-month-old baby nestled in her mother’s arms was kicked to the ground by two Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorists, one of them identified as a Pakistani, during Sunday night’s attack in Pulwama that almost wiped out the immediate family of special police officer Fayaz Ahmad Bhat (50).

The slain policeman’s 21-year-old daughter died of bullet injuries early on Monday, hours after her parents were shot dead in front of her at their home in Hariparigam village of Awantipora.

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Brandishing AK-47 rifles, the terrorists came with their faces covered and knocked on Bhat’s door, police said. A spray of bullets felled him as soon as he let them in. His wife Raja Bano was the next target. The couple’s daughter Rafiqa Jan tried to step in and met the same fate. Bhat’s daughter-in-law Saima, who was cradling her child, was forced to scamper to safety after kicks landed on her and the baby.

“I begged for our lives but they didn’t spare even my baby. I dared not scream for fear of being shot like my in-laws were. I ran to another room after picking up my baby. I screamed and cried only after the killers left,” Saima said.

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Her husband Liyaqat Fayaz, who is with the Territorial Army and currently posted at Khrew in Pulwama, was on duty as the attack on his family unfolded. By the time he returned home after receiving a frantic call from his wife, his parents were dead and his younger sister barely hanging on to life. Rafiqa was moved to SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar, where she died close to dawn on Monday.

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IGP (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar, who visited Bhat’s home, said one of the assailants spoke Koshur (Kashmiri) and the other conversed in Urdu. “We have inputs about the movement of Jaish terrorists in the area and there is mounting evidence of one of the attackers being a Pakistani.”

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