It was Afaq Shah’s Kashmiri shawl business that brought him to West Bengal’s Hindmotor area when he was only 20 years old. Unaware of the life-long bond he would eventually form with the Adhikari family, Shah had landed up in their home to sell his shawls back in 2010.
After years of visits to the Adhikari household, Shah became such an integral part of the family that it would be easy to confuse him with just another relative. Hence, it was surprising to no one when Shah and his family were invited to the Adhikari family’s daughter, Mimi’s, wedding on Sunday, Anandabazar Patrika reported.
In the last 10 years, Shah’s frequent visits to Bengal’s Uttarpara, Hindmotor, and Konnagar helped him pick up Bengali to help in his trade. With his wife and one-and-a-half-year-old son in tow, Shah enjoyed the wedding festivities as much as he would at a wedding back home in Kashmir. “She’s like my sister,” Shah tells ABP.
Following the Pulwama terror attack on security personnel, which led to the death of 40 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Kashmiris have been attacked in parts of the country. This is the aftermath of the Pulwama attack where a suicide bomber had rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into a CRPF convoy.
Shah recollects his own experience after the Pulwama attack. “I had gone to visit someone who owed me money, but the person refused to give me back the amount. He called me a Pakistani, and verbally abused me,” Shah tells ABP.