Stopped to Die

Once again ambulance drivers became target of law enforcing agencies while ferrying injured. Aabid Hussain met one driver who survived with a broken arm and a lifelong guilt

On April 9, 2017, Nisar Ahmad Mir, 25, a labourer, was among two dozen boys assembled outside Government Girls High School, Ratsun in Beerwah. They were asking the polling staff inside to vacate the school and leave. “They sought ten minutes time to leave,” recalls a boy who was part of the group.

However, as it turned out later, the polling staff had contacted the nearby CRPF camp and asked for reinforcement. “They came while firing in the air,” said Nisar’s elder brother Farooq Ahmad Mir, 30.

It led to chaos and everybody started running for life. Nisar too ran and hid himself behind a wall. A few minutes later Nisar peeped out to check if the CRPF has left. “A CRPF man took an aim at him and shot him. It was targeted killing,” said Farooq.

As Nisar was shot, other boys, who were trying to save themselves, stopped, and rushed, back to pick him.

Nisar was carried to Primary Health Centre, located at a walking distance from the spot. “Doctors referred him to sub-district hospital Beerwah,” said his brother Farooq.

Hit on the back of the head by a single bullet Nisar’s condition was critical. “We were given an ambulance by the hospital and asked to rush as fast as we can,” recalls Farooq.

The ambulance driver, Bashir Ahmad Khan, 35, a local resident, sped without further delay as he knew it was matter of life and death. “I must have been going at 80 km/hour speed when suddenly I saw CRPF, SOG and local policemen blocking the road near Beerwah hospital,” recalls Bashir.

Sensing danger Bashir decided to slow down. “If I wouldn’t have stopped they might have fired at me,” said Bashir.

As the ambulance reached near the forces Bashir was asked why he is transporting a stone-pelter. “It enraged them and they began harassing me,” said Bashir. “One of them shouted and said ‘let him die’.”

Bashir is still in shock as he tries to recall the exact happenings of that day. “I recall how SOG men insisted that I should leave the injured there and turn back.”

When Bashir refused to leave Nisar, another masked personnel intervened and suggested: get the attendants out.

Inside Nisar was bleeding badly as every single minute lost was crucial for his life. “I recall how Nisar’s two brothers, who were accompanying him, were pleading me to get going,” said Bashir.

A local police officer, who was there too, tried to intervene and help Bashir move, but he too was confronted by the SOG men. “They even threatened to kill him too,” recalls Bashir, who watched helplessly from driving seat.

Then all of a sudden some SOG personnel tried to pull one of the attendants out from the glass window. “I tried to pull him back till one of the SOG men hit me on the shoulder,” recalls Bashir. “But I didn’t let him go.”

Bashir feared that they will kill him if he is pulled out. “I tried my best to save him.”

When Bashir finally managed to reach Beerwah hospital and Nisar was taken to the emergency, he let out a loud cry and began to sob. “He cried like a child,” said Ghulam Qadir, a fellow ambulance driver who is posted at Beerwah. “Everyone could see how much pained he was to see a youngster lose his life in front of his eyes.”

But when the second SOG personnel joined in Bashir had no choice but to let him go. “They pulled him out this time,” said Bashir.

While Bashir was battling to save this attendant, locals who watched the happenings from the road side, tried to save them. “Some boys started pelting stones to save us from their clutches,” recalls Bashir. “However they were outnumbered by the cops.”

In the meantime, Nisar’s brothers were crying all along and pleading with forces, to let them pass and save their brother.

“But nobody listened. Instead, they (forces) threatened to drag Nisar out as well and crush him under ambulance’s tyres,” recalls Bashir. “I told them that Nisar is already dead and we are talking him to the hospital just to be sure.”

Even after one week Bashir is still in a state of shock. “I don’t know when and where Nisar breathed his last, but I am sure he was still alive when we were stopped.”

Bashir is still confused why the ambulance was stopped and literally wasted crucial moments of Nisar’s life. “I think they waited till Nisar was dead for sure and only then let us pass,” said Bashir.

Nisar was declared brought dead by doctors at Beerwah hospital.

When Bashir finally managed to reach Beerwah hospital and Nisar was taken to the emergency, he let out a loud cry and began to sob. “He cried like a child,” said Ghulam Qadir, a fellow ambulance driver who is posted at Beerwah. “Everyone could see how much pained he was to see a youngster lose his life in front of his eyes.”

Almost an hour later when Bashir regained his senses, he examined his ambulance. “They had broken windows while trying to drag out attendant,” said Bashir.

Bashir recalls how an ASI rank police officer tried his best to save Nisar’s life but was confronted by SOG men. “These masked men (SOG) literally manhandled him in front of other policemen,” recalls Bashir.

Bashir regrets that he couldn’t do much to save Nisar’s life as the situation was overwhelming and could have turned even worse. “At one point, I was sure they will shot us all. But that would have been better than this lifelong guilt.”


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