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After Kashmir footballer’s return, two more families ask militant recruits to join mainstream

Two people — Ashiq Hussain Bhat and Manzoor Ahmad Baba — had joined the ranks of the Lashkar-e-Taiba recently. Now, their families have come out with video appeals for their return.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2017 15:24 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kashmir footballer,Shopian,Lashkar-e-Taiba
Soldiers take positions in the midst of a clash in Kashmir recently. (AP File)

The renunciation of militancy by a 20-year-old south Kashmir footballer after his mother sent out a videographed appeal has prompted two more families from the region to issue similar emotional pleas for the return of their sons.

The tearful parents of a trader, Ashiq Hussain Bhat, approached the media with a message for him to return to their home in Shopian district. A photograph of Bhat brandishing a gun had earlier gone viral on the social media. He went missing last week purportedly to join the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“My son did not return home from the shop on November 9, after which the picture turned up on the Internet,” said Fehmeed, Bhat’s mother. “There’s no meaning to our lives without Ashiq. I want him to return. Without him, we will either consume poison or lock this place and run away.”

Mohammad Isaq, Bhat’s father, was equally inconsolable. “What will we do now? He was the sole breadwinner of this family, and his wife is also with us. What will we do?” he asked.

The second case pertains to Manzoor Ahmad Baba, a 20-year-old fruit grower from Pulwama who allegedly joined the ranks of militants recently. “If he is with your organisation, please let him go. I have nobody but my children,” said his mother, Zawhra Bano, in a video that has gone viral on the Internet.

Pulwama superintendent Mohammad Aslam confirmed to HT that Baba had joined militants in the Valley.

These appeals followed footballer Majid Khan’s surrender on Friday, after his mother asked him to return home in a video posted on the social media. A resident of Anantnag in south Kashmir, Khan was a bright student and a popular football goalkeeper before he became the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s latest recruit last week – much to the shock of his family and neighbours.

Mahmood Shah, the self-styled chief of the militant organisation in Jammu and Kashmir, was quoted by the media as saying that Khan was “permitted” to leave on the request of his mother.

First Published: Nov 19, 2017 13:46 IST