Srinagar, July 5 : A Jammu and Kashmir police officer on Friday paid a moving tribute to his personal security guard murdered by militants, calling him "a true patriot" who loved the idea of India, and wondering why their stories are not told.
As the tribute went viral on social media, it touched innumerable hearts in the strife torn Kashmir Valley where killings have increasingly been reduced to statistics.
Shailendra Mishra of the Indian Police Service (IPS) was the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in the troubled Shopian district when Javaid Ahmad Dar, popularly called JD, was abducted and murdered by militants in cold blood on this day last year.
Mishra went on to describe how compassionate 27-year-old JD was.
"'Sir, iske ghar mein problem hai, isko please chutti chodhna hai' and I'd promptly say YES. This was JD, our favourite in the team," Mishra wrote on Facebook.
"He was loved by all in the close protection team that kept me out of harms way while at work, while at home or while just playing a game of cricket with the local Kashmiri teams in the restive districts of the valley."
Mishra wrote: "I didn't know why I liked him so much. Born in the troubled village of Vehil in Shopian of south Kashmir, JD was one of five siblings, with a brother and three sisters.
"He accompanied me in every battle I fought on the field and on many occasions I owe my safe return to his bravery. He was duly recognised for his efforts by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, which conferred him with the prestigious Sher-e-Kashmir medal.
"There were moments during our small excursions in the hills where we used to pull his leg, telling him that we all would take his 'baraat' to his village in a big police convoy, putting him on a police truck."
Destiny took a painful different turn.
"On the fateful day, today, last year, July 5, while he was out there on duty, JD was kidnapped by militants outside a medical store. They took JD after firing a few shots in the air, knowing very well that the fighter was unarmed.
"My phone rang at 6.45 p.m. on that day. It was the girl whom he loved the most. She kept crying on the phone and asking me 'why him?'. I had no answers. She yelled at me ordering me to get him back.
"The world suddenly had come to a standstill. It was happening. Our boy was with the enemy. A long effort in a short few hours was undertaken.
"Everyone from all the forces, all the friends, we all tried whatever we could. At dawn we found his body with gunshot wounds in his heart. JD had been martyred.
"JD has fallen. Many like him did too. But the question still remains. Why are their stories not told? Why are they just a number? He sacrificed his life in the line of duty, he lived for peace. He revered the idea of India."
Mishra said JD treated civilians very humanely.
In 2016, "JD carried an injured civilian from a (law and order) site to a district hospital five kilometers away, ignoring all the injuries he incurred at the hands of protesters on the way back.
"That was our boy. Selfless, brave, dedicated and a very good son... He was a true patriot, much more than patriotism can ask for.
"His devotion to his country was no different."
Mishra, who had been transferred on the day JD was killed, recalled that the entire police team broke into tears when they accompanied the body to JD's village.
"When his father hugged me after reaching his village, he was very calm and composed. He told me pinching his fingers that he removed small iron pieces from his young son's body, while cleaning his fatal wounds. Those were pieces of the bullet that pierced the body.
The father also said that he wanted to build a small dispensary from the money he would get from the government following his son's death.
"My grand salute to this family of extraordinary humans. There are many such JDs serving the cause of peace in the Valley and laying down their lives for this great nation. We miss you boy."