SRINAGAR: Nearly two months after his only son was shot dead by militants at his eatery in Durga Nag area of Srinagar, Krishna Dhaba owner reopened his outlet on Tuesday. “I am not scared… I have to live and die here,” said Ramesh Kumar. “There is no fear. I do not feel any threat as I have been living here and this is my home,” he added.
A large number of tourists and locals flocked to the popular eatery on its reopening. Kumar’s son Akash Mehra, 22, was attacked by militants on February 17 and succumbed to injuries in a Srinagar hospital 11 days later. The family went to their native place in Jammu after Akash’s death, but claimed they had no plans to leave Kashmir.
“If we had any such plans, we would not have returned and reopened the shop. We were born here, will live here and die here. There is no tension,” Kumar said. Militant outfit Muslim Janbaz Force had claimed responsibility for the attack on Akash and warned that it won’t allow India to change the demography of Kashmir through domicile law. All three involved in the attack were arrested two days later. Police had also claimed that MJF was an off-shoot of Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Kumar, however, has forgiven his son’s killers. “I have no grudge against anybody. I would like the police to release the youths as they are answerable before the Almighty. They, too, are someone’s children.”
Kumar’s brother said the local traders, shikarawalas, taxi drivers, owners visited and assured them of always standing by the family. “We don’t hold a grudge against anybody,” he said. “Our opening shop again also shows that we are not frightened.”