After the brutal massacre of his family by terrorists, and his dreams of becoming a teacher now shattered Rajinder Kumar Sharma now aims to become an Indian soldier and take his revenge.
Recovering from what could have been fatal bullet injuries in the lower part of his body, the 18-year-old does not hide his contempt for the terrorists who Sunday massacred 22 innocent people, his father and two brothers included.
AdvertisementThe killings took place in Kulhan village, in Jammu and Kashmir's hilly district of Doda, when its inhabitants were sleeping or preparing to hit the bed. Gunmen dressed as security personnel came knocking just before 11 p.m.
Rajinder, who was studying for his school-leaving examination, cannot forget those terrible moments when he along with his father and two brothers were asked to leave their house and proceed to the headman's.
There, after more villagers were herded at the point of gun, the terrorists opened random fire. A lucky few survived. Rajinder was one of them but he took a few hits and collapsed on the floor, bleeding profusely.
He remained there, barely conscious, until the next morning when he was taken to a hospital in Jammu, over 200 km away. The young man saw his father and brothers fall on the floor of the house and dying.
The terrorists, believed to be separatist guerrillas fighting to secede Jammu and Kashmir, vanished from the scene.
"I will not return to my village," Rajinder told IANS at the hospital, weeping and wiping his tears. "I have no one to take care of me. I don't want to be a teacher. I want to be a soldier. I want to kill those terrorists."
Jagdish Kumar Bhagat, the village headman, died in the gunfire with one of his four daughters, Sapna Devi.
His wife Gillo Devi and another daughter Sumna are recuperating in the Government Medical College and Hospital here. Both stare blankly when they are asked about the killings.
Gillo, who is sharing a bed with her three-month-old son Sumit, keeps asking: "Why did they kill them? Now I can never meet my sister and father."
Sumna took three bullets in her legs - two in upper part of the right leg and one in the left.
Almost every house in the village has a disaster story to relate. And even those who managed to escape say they can never forget the Sunday night.