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Militancy gets a new face in J& K.

SAJAD Ahmad was pursuing Master of Computer Applications ( MCA) course when he, on January 26, 2009, left his home in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, never to return. Weeks later, security agencies told his shocked father, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, 52, that Ahmad had joined militant ranks.

On May 30 this year, the police handed over 28- year- old Ahmad's bullet- riddled body to his father after he was killed in an encounter.

Ahmad, according to his family and friends, was a brilliant student who would seldom talk about politics. He had been doing his MCA from the Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora. Before that, he had completed his post- graduation in Islamic Studies and graduation in science from the University of Kashmir.

" He was more concerned about his studies," says Mir, who is manager in a leading bank, about his deceased son. " We never had any idea that he would be joining militancy." Ahmad's is not an isolated case of a brilliant youth falling prey to militancy in the state. In Hariparigam village of Tral, in Pulwama district, the well- off Ahangar family was also clueless about their son Saifullah joining a militant group till some time ago.

On March 24, Saifullah, 20, son of a retired agriculture officer, Rafiq Ahmad Ahangar, left home on the pretext of visiting Jammu, and then disappeared. The family informed Jammu and Kashmir Police and nearby Army camp.

" We never thought he had joined militants. He had completed a diploma in civil engineering and had been working with a private contractor," says his mother Raja Begam. " He was an obedient son," she says wiping tears from her eyes.

Saifullah had been killed in an encounter with security forces in neighbouring Buchoo Bala village on May 24. Incidentally, in 2004, militants had shot dead his elder brother, Zahoor Ahmad Ahangar, for allegedly being an informer of security forces.

Police officials are clueless about this urge of youngsters to join militancy.

" We don't know why they joined militancy. Kashmir is a conflict area and anyone can join militancy any time. People don't need to have reasons," said a police official.

The official said at present there are 12 militants operating in Pulwama- Tral belt but all of them are not well- educated.

Surprisingly, all of them are new recruits. In Srinagar, some officials concede that violent response of the state to agitation and stone pelting in 2008 and 2010 might be one of the reasons forcing youngsters to join militancy.

" That might be one of the reasons. But when you discuss individual militants, it in itself is an indication that militancy is waning from Kashmir," said a senior police official.

AN UNLIKELY MILITANT

Sajad Ahmad was a brilliant student who would seldom talk about politics

He was doing MCA from the Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora

Before that, he had completed his post- graduation in Islamic Studies and graduation in science from the University of Kashmir

Ahmad was pursuing MCA course when he, on January 26, 2009, left his home in Pulwama

Weeks later, security agencies informed his family that Ahmad had joined a militant group

On May 30, the police handed over Ahmad's bullet- riddled body to his father after he was killed in an encounter

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jun 9, 2013
Words:562
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