Other States

Kashmir in shock over death of teenage militants

The violent death of Mudasir Rashid Parray, who was born in 2004 in the then zero-militancy district of Hajin in north Kashmir, saw young and old, men and women converge on Monday from far flung villages on a modest house in Mir Mohalla to have the last glimpse of the youngest militant killed this year. Parray was among three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants killed in an 18-hour encounter in Mujgund area on Sunday.

Parray’s mother and two sisters sang a dirge, as they kept vigil next to the body. “The milk on your lips is yet to dry, let me cradle you one last time; Oh Hajin’s innocent and dear son, let me cradle you,” his mother Fareeda Begum sang through her tears.

Keen on cricket

Parray, a Class IX student, and his close friend and neighbour 17-year-old Saqib Bilal Sheikh, a Class XI student, were both killed in the Majgund operation and buried in the same graveyard on Monday.

Relatives and the neighbours recalled the two as food lovers and cricketers “who never hinted at joining militants ever”. It was on August 31, a day after two LeT militants were killed that the two disappeared, much to the surprise of the whole locality.

“I would spot him in a restaurant. He never discussed anything about militancy ever. He loved good food. That is what I remember about him,” said Parray’s schoolfriend.

Till two weeks ago, when locals showed his mother the picture of him with a gun on the social media, she could not come to terms with the fact that her son had taken to arms. “I cannot forget the last sight of him [Parray] heading for a cricket ground [in August]. That was the last time I saw him alive,” she said.

Sheikh’s mother Mehbooba Begum said her son had called her up a few weeks ago and requested for an amulet to ward off evil forces.

Parray and Sheikh are among four militants killed this year whose age was less than 18 years, according to police records.

Recruitment of teenagers by militants has come under severe criticism from many quarters in the Valley. “The killing of a 14-year-old is sad and scary. The administration should exhaust all non-military options when a minor is involved. Calling off such an operation is a better option. And the involvement of minors in non-State military activity merits thought from society,” said Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone.

IGP, Kashmir, S.P. Pani warned against describing teenagers joining militancy as a trend. “This is not a trend but a deviant behaviour of a few youngsters,” said Mr. Pani.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 11:01:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-in-shock-over-death-of-teenage-militants/article25713003.ece

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