Age: 19 yrs
Resident of: Manzgam area of Kulgam district.
Murder Details: After he was kidnapped earlier in the day from Saidpora area of Shopian District, his throat-slit body was found from an orchard area in Hermain village of the south Kashmir district.
A car wheezed past the bakery shop located in Sadipora village of Shopian. It pulled over few meters ahead of the shop and then reversed, eyewitnesses said. Unknown men with black bandana tops covering their faces dashed out and called the baker out.
“Where is your cousin Shahid?” the men asked Huzaif with the customers sitting inside the shop watching the kidnapping unfold. “Call him,” the gunmen demanded.
Huzaif dialled the number of his cousin, Shahid Ahmad Ganie, in whose house he lived from last seven months since he opened the bakery shop. Then he dialled the number of Farooq Ahmad Thoker. Shahid arrived within a few minutes, so did Thoker.
The three, according to Shahid who was later let off, were bundled into the car and on the way, at some unknown place, their captors asked each of them what they did, apart from their daily jobs, Shahid said.
After a few hours the cell phone of Mohammad Ashraf Kutay, father of Huzaif, rang. It was a policeman on the other side from Shopian police station.
“Is Huzaif your son?” the policeman asked. The father mumbled in affirmative, unaware of what was unfolding. Kutay, 55, a tailor, was stitching a pheran, a traditional cloak worn by people in Kashmir during winters. The police officer continued, “Do you have any knowledge of your son’s involvement or links with anyone?” The father denied.
“He (Huzaif) would hardly come home. Last time he came was when it snowed and our orchard was damaged. He stayed for a night but on the next day he was back to his shop,” said Kutay on Sunday morning at his double-storey house in Manzgam village of Kulgam, 89 kilometres south of Srinagar.
According to Shahid, the car travelled through several villages for hours. “At one spot they stopped the car and started beating us,” said Shahid, who was let off by gunmen at around 4 pm on Saturday. “Two of us were let off, but not Huzaif,” he said, adding the gunmen said they would let Huzaif off soon.
“I have no idea who those people were,” a visibly shaken Shahid, 17, said outside his house as women kissed his forehead and hugged him. “They asked us questions like what we did for work, what we did when we had no work and then beat us black and blue.”
The police in Shopian district said the gunmen continued driving till they reached the village of Hermain. A video clip, which was circulated on internet, shows a masked man with a knife in the right hand and a bloodied, motionless body by his side on the ground. A small pit has been dug nearby, like when slaughtering a sheep, for the blood to be collected. “Here they butchered him with a knife, like a sheep,” a police official said.
For the first time that a Kashmiri had been filmed while his throat is being slit and the video circulated on the internet.