Two conflicting versions of a story have concealed the facts about the killing of a Kashmiri man, whose only credible witness is his 3-year-old grandchild.
A 65-year-old man was shot dead on Wednesday morning in the northern district of India-administered Kashmir. The victim, identified by local media as Bashir Ahmed Khan, was accompanied by a 3-year-old boy, who was seen sitting on his corpse, dazed and completely traumatised.
The incident echoes the killing of 12-year-old Palestinian child Muhammad al Durra in September 2000, whose father, Jamal al Durra, tried his best to shield him from Israeli gunfire, taking several injuries. The boy's killers were never brought to justice but the photograph of young Durra screaming behind his father remained etched in the memory of almost every Palestinian.
Back to the Kashmir killing: so far two conflicting versions have emerged.
The police say Khan was killed in a crossfire when Kashmiri insurgents attacked their forces in the Sopore district of India-administered Kashmir. One Indian paramilitary trooper was also killed in the gunbattle, say the police.
Khan's daughter says her father had gone to the bank to cash a cheque and on the way he was dragged out of his car and then shot in cold blood.
Without naming anyone, she said her father's killers did not care about the 3-year-old child who was accompanying him. "Who shoots a person in front of a 3-year-old kid?" she said in deep anguish.
The victim's wife says her 3-year-old grandson was deliberately made to sit on the corpse of her husband.
A pro-India politician and former chief minister of disputed Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, pointed out the vicious nature of the Kashmir conflict, saying the 3-year-old boy's misery was being "broadcast to the whole world to drive home the 'we good they bad' message."
Abdullah was referring to the reports and tweets coming from controversial Indian journalists and their jingoistic news outlets that have portrayed the police as the saviour of the 3-year-old child.
The truth about the killing is now muddled by the Indian state's narrative and the counternarrative. The only credible witness is a 3-year-old child.