Missing from Noida, Kashmiri student surfaces on social media posing as IS militant
Ehtisham Bilal, a native of Khanyar in downtown Srinagar, had shifted to Greater Noida three months ago after enrolling in Sharda University and was living in the varsity’s hostel at the Knowledge Park area in Greater Noida. He went missing on October 28.
A picture and an audio message, purportedly of Ehtisham Bilal, the Kashmiri student who went missing from Sharda University, Greater Noida, on Sunday, has gone viral on social media in Kashmir.
In the picture, the person appears wearing black outfit with some weapons strapped to his body and is posing with a flag of the Islamic State while a voice in the audio claims to be Ehtisham’s and announces his joining the IS group operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the picture or the audio.
Police said that they are verifying the authenticity of the picture and the audio. “We are verifying these things. This has to be confirmed,” said additional director general of police (ADGP) Munir Khan.
If authentic, the picture and the audio raises fear that the teenager, a first-year student of bachelor in medical imaging technology (BMIT), might have joined militancy.
A call to Bilal Ahmad, father of the teenager, did not go through as his mobile was switched off.
Ehtisham, a native of Khanyar in downtown Srinagar, had shifted to Greater Noida three months ago after enrolling in Sharda University and was living in the varsity’s hostel at the Knowledge Park area in Greater Noida.
On October 4, he was roughed up by a group of students who mistook him for an Afghan during a clash between Indian and Afghan students at Sharda University campus in Greater Noida. Police had lodged a first information report against 350 students of Sharda University for rioting.
Without mentioning the place or the incident specifically, the voice in the audio mentions some people who attacked him like “dogs” and states that he had made up his mind to join Jihad that day.
The teenager had informed his father on Sunday that he was going on a ‘sight seeing’ trip to Delhi while according to Noida Police, his call details showed his location in Delhi till 12 pm and in Jammu by 2.30 pm, thereby raising speculations that he caught a flight from Delhi.
J&K police have also been checking on people who have been visiting Ehtisham in Kashmir. Sajad Shah, superintendent of police, north Srinagar, on Wednesday said he was not sure of any militancy connection of the missing boy. However he mentioned that the boy was friends with a youth who had later joined militancy.
“He was friends with a youth Fahad Waza who joined militancy and was killed in an encounter at Fateh Kadal on October 17,” Shah had informed.