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After Majid Khan’s surrender, two mothers in Kashmir urge ‘militant’ sons to return home

On November 16, a popular footballer, Majid Khan, who joined Lashkar-e-Taiba, came back to his family following his mother’s tearful appeal in a video.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2017 21:14 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kashmir,Majid Khan,LeT
Majid Khan being presented by the army before the media during a press conference in Awantipora on Friday.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

Two distraught mothers in Kashmir have come out with video messages urging their militant sons to return home, hoping for a reunion like that of a popular footballer who surrendered last week.

In her message, mother of Irfan Ahmad Rather, a resident of Shariafabad in south Kashmir, has asked her son to come back home at the earliest.

“For God’s sake come back. Have pity on me. Remember how I nursed you? Why don’t you remember my sufferings? I will do anything for you. Come back, my Irfan,” she says in the video widely shared on social media on Tuesday.

Shariafabad is the village of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, who was killed by security forces in July 2016. The death of Wani, a social-media savvy militant, plunged the Valley into a spiral of violence. Some young boys are believed to have followed in his footsteps to join militant ranks.

A Class 12 student, Rather, believed to be in his teens, went missing more than a month ago to join home-grown militant outfit the Hizbul Mujahideen, police said.

“His mother has appealed, we are also trying for his return,” Awantipora superintendent of police Mohammad Zaid said.

The second message is for Sajad Ahmad Shah, who hails from north Kashmir’s Handwara. Shah’s mother has asked him to shun the gun for the sake of his new-born son, his ill father and two unmarried sisters. Shah went missing on October 8 after visiting his shop in Langate.

Phone calls and messages to Handwara superintendent of police Gulam Jeelani for his reaction went unanswered.

In a renewed push, security officials are asking families and friends to encourage local boys to return to the mainstream.

However, the Lashkar-e-Taiba on Tuesday said that no militant in Kashmir will return home, and accused the armed forces of compelling family members to issue these public appeals.

“Our mothers are neither afraid of Indian threats nor they will call upon their sons to get back to their homes, compromising their freedom. They are the mothers who consider their martyrs as grooms. From now on, no freedom fighter will ever return to his home. It is the Indian forces who would have to quit, otherwise they must vacate Kashmir,” LeT chief Mehmood Shah was quoted by a local news agency.

Talking to Hindustan Times on Monday, Jammu and Kashmir’s top cop SP Vaid said police will to take a lenient view of militants looking to give up violence.

Kashmiri as well foreign militants are active in the Valley and security forces have made it clear outsiders would be dealt with sternly.

The return of two men in the past one week is seen as an encouraging sign.

A 17-year-old teenager returned to his family in Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the hotbed of militancy, on Monday.

On November 16, a popular footballer, Majid Khan, who joined Lashkar-e-Taiba, came back to his family following his mother’s tearful appeal in a video. A resident of Anantnag in south Kashmir, Khan surrendered a week after joining the Pakistan-based outfit.

His return prompted two more families to send out similar messages.

But Ashiq Hussain Bhat, a Shopian trader, turned down his parents’ request. The family told mediapersons on Tuesday he called to say he had chosen the best path and would prefer martyrdom to surrender. He went missing last week and has joined the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Manzoor Ahmad Baba, a 20-year-old fruit grower from Pulwama, allegedly joined militant ranks recently. His family has not heard from him.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 20:27 IST