Photo of gun wielding youth in Kashmir goes viral, police suspect terror link
A picture of a young man from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district carrying a gun has gone viral on social media triggering fears that he may have signed up for militancy.
The police said that they were investigating the picture in which Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir, a resident of Gulgam village in Kupwara can be seen. Mir was missing since last week.
“His gun wielding picture has been circulated on social media. We are verifying,” said senior superintendent of police, Kupwara, Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar.
Locals said that Mir, in his early twenties, ran a photocopy shop and went missing on June 11 after he left home for the Kupwara market. His family has issued an appeal requesting him to return.
The picture shows him wearing a military vest and holding a rifle pointing its barrel towards the ground while he is looking towards the camera. The date of joining is shown as June 12.
The photo is apparently stamped with Hizbul Mujahideen on its corner with the name of ‘district commander’ Anantnag and Kupwara Mohammad Ashraf Khan alias Mansoorul Haq’ . It also reveals the educational qualifications of the youth saying he is a Hafiz-e-Quran and has done a diploma.
Youth joining militancy in Kashmir sometimes declare it publicly by releasing a gun wielding picture on social media.
The apparent joining of Mir would take the number of active local militants of the district to two.
“We will now have two militants including Mir. The other one is also a local from Kralpora area. He joined some 6 months ago,” said Dinkar.
Last year in October, Manan Wani, a former PhD scholar of AMU and a resident of Kupwara, who had left research to join militancy in Kashmir, was killed in an encounter with security forces in his home district.
Earlier this week, police in neighbouring district of Baramulla had said that two youths joined militant ranks after a picture of a post-graduate student Junaid Farooq posing with an AK-47 rifle went viral on social media.
A resident of Hamray Pattan area, Junaid was the second youth who has joined militancy in Baramulla police district.
In April, a 19-year-old youth Adnan Ahmad Channa of Arampora went missing from his house and joined militant ranks. Though his pictures were never released, police suspect him of joining the militant ranks.
In January, after the killing of three local Lashkar militants—Shuiab Akhoon and his two associates Mohsin Mushtaq and Nisar Darzi—police had said they were the last listed militants in Baramulla police district.
Despite young men joining militancy, officials say that in the first five months of this year the number of youth joining militant ranks was less compared to the previous years.