Kashmir University professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat: Disappearance and death, all too sudden

People use their mobile phones to take photographs of the body of Kashmir University professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat during his funeral procession at Chunduna village in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir on May 6, 2018.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Known to colleagues as “an obedient student” and “an affable teacher”, Mohammad Rafi Bhat, 33, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Kashmir University (KU), on Friday afternoon, instead of going to his home-town Ganderbal in north Kashmir, headed towards the militancy hub of south Kashmir after a routine teaching day. Missing for over 36 hours, this would-be militant was among the five killed in Shopian in an encounter.

An early-morning call on Sunday by the police to the family at Ganderbal’s Chanduna sought their help in persuading Bhat to surrender. Bhat’s brother, father, sister and wife started for Shopian, over 70 km away, but before they could intervene he was killed. Just 17 km from home, the family came to know about his death.

“Please forgive me if I hurt anyone,” Bhat told his father in the last call made from the encounter site and asked him to prepare for the final rites.

His Facebook profile says, “Human being first, then a Muslim.” However, his Facebook posts reflected his desperation.

“By blocking all peaceful means of expressing dissent, what remains is self-defence against the armed forces. Existing circumstances are fuelling student protests. The way forward is change in the status quo, where power won’t be exercised for the sake of power,” he wrote on April 18.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 8:57:37 PM |

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