‘I ran and ran till I disappeared in mist’
He looks frightened and avoids meeting strangers. Just three days ago, this frail structured boy from Nowgam locality made the run for his life. Meet 14-year old Basim Amin, who challenged death,
as his childhood friend Faisal Yusuf and another boy from his locality, Meraj-ud-Din Dar, fell to the bullets fired by soldiers of Army’s 53 Rashtiya Rifles in Chattergam area of Budgam. Two of his other friends, ZahidAyoub and Shakir Ahmad were seriously injured in the firing.
This afternoon, Basim, dressed in jeans and black jacket, was with his friends in the backyard of his house in Khawajapora locality. This is for the first time he has moved out since the killings took place. But soon he returns to his house.
Back home, Basim, surrounded by his family members, talked in soft tone. “I hid myself in space between the seat and the dashboard of the Maruati car as they (soldiers) continued firing for less than a minute,” Basim responded, when asked about his escape from the spot.
Basim had taken the front seat beside Faisal who was on the driver’s seat when they were returning home from Suthsoo in Chattergam after giving up the plan to see a Muharram procession.
“They (Army men) signaled us to stop and Faisal had just applied brakes when a bullet hit him on his arm and he lost control on the car which hit a pole. Then they started firing towards our car from three sides. But since my side of the car was towards the edge of the road, they couldn’t come from there,” he recounts, as he crisscrosses his fingers and downs his eyes.
“When the firing stopped after less than a minute, I looked at Faisal. He was drenched in blood and not moving. I looked behind and they (Meraj, Shakir and Zahid) had fallen on each other and blood was oozing out from their bodies.”
At this moment, Basim said he thought of saving himself. “As the door on my side didn’t open, I scrolled down the windowpane, jumped from there and rolled myself into a nearby field,” he said, looking visibly frightened and nervous.
A known footballer in his locality, Basim then decided to run. “I turned back and saw them (soldiers) pointing towards me. I thought running is the only way to save myself. I ran and ran till I disappeared in the mist and trees,” he said.
Away from the horrific scene, Basim continued running till he reached Sheikhpora locality in Chattergam. “I ran into a house and cried aloud. The family members consoled me after I narrated the story to them. They offered me a glass of water and also gave me money for returning home,” said Basim.
Traumatized, Basim said the incident unfolds in front of his eyes every time he remembers Faisal and other friends.
His family members said Basim has not been able to sleep properly since his return.
“I am scared and not able to sleep,” Basim said. “I want to go and meet the mothers of Faisal and Meraj but I don’t have the courage to see them.”