Zahid’s killing: army no longer only holy cow in Kashmir. The Gau-mata arrives.

Sagar Kaul

Former Editor for India and Pakistan for Newzulu – a crowd-sourced newswire media agency. Sagar is also a media and freelance photographer and his photographs and videos have appeared in internationally renowned publications such as the Guardian, Time magazine, Huffington Post, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Mirror, the L.A. Times and the New York Post. Prior to joining Newzulu, Sagar worked with the London-based media agency, Barcroft Media, as a staff photographer and in their editorial department. He had regular assignments documenting human interest stories that have been featured around the world.

Zahid, age 19, was not burnt because he was ferrying cattle in his truck or eating beef. He was sleeping when the petrol bomb was thrown in his truck by a fringe group of radicals who believed in the greatness of their act for the greater good of their country.

Why no one will be prosecuted eventually is because then again the greatness of their act will be underlined and the spiritual health of the country might start to decay keeping in mind that the population of the minority is increasing day-by-day.

Zahid is dead because he was “killed”. He did not die in an encounter with security forces nor was he the victim of crossfire. He died because some people planed this act in a cold blooded manner not realizing that they made him a martyr.

Zahid Kashmir
Photo courtesy:

Zahid was not even supposed to be in the truck. He was just helping his brother by taking his place for this trip. He was not a threat to any one or anything, he was just trying to help his family and brother by making money for them and he died doing that. He lost his life because carcasses of three cows were found in some area and this was a good enough justification for the mob to kill. The reason for the death of the cows was later found to be from food poisoning but a 19 year old boy paid the price of religious hate by being burnt alive. A good enough reason to protest and to fight for.

Once he’s been prepared to be buried and bid farewell by his family, once the wailing and the slogans die down, is when the winter will set in. It will be cold and it will be dark. The family will be running around constantly – at times to be present in the court hearing for the case and at times fighting for any compensation that the government will have announced. The family with limited resources will have to struggle at every point to get justice for their sons death. Leaders from across the divide will condemn this death, there will be demands for a probe, justice to be done, but will anyone come forward and try to counsel the family? Will anyone from the position of power help the family financially? The answer is no. They never have and never will because these deaths happen far away from their homes. It does not affect them personally, emotionally or financially but what it does is it gives them a reason to do what they have been doing all this while and that’s to play politics.

This is not the first case of this type. During the peak of 2008 land row agitation, Muhammed Lateef Wani of Pampore was attacked by fringe elements in Udhampur on August 17, 2008. The attack resulted in a serious head injury which turned fatal for him and he lost his life. The family is still struggling to survive on its own in spite of promises and big talks from everyone. No one has been prosecuted for Lateefs death till now. Even the death certificate shows the place of death as ‘home’. We had a different government then at the Centre did they do anything about it? No. We got a new government after this in J&K, did they do anything about it? No. Did we as Kashmiris learn anything from it? No, we did not.

Rest in peace Zahid.




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