Faid Mushtaq Waza is reported to have joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit.
Srinagar: In a first during the three-decade old militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, a mother on Wednesday walked to Mushtaq Press Enclave, the media hub of Srinagar, to make an appeal to her teenage son who joined militants’ ranks a few days ago to return home.
“Our home was saved in the devastating floods in September 2014 but this deluge will sweep my whole household. My whole world will be wrecked apart,” said Maimoona Mushtaq, mother of 18-eyar-old Faid Mushtaq Waza. “I just want him to come back,” she beseeched as tears rolled down her cheeks while speaking to reporters. Flanked by several other women including her neighbours, Ms Maimoona said that those who have taken up the gun and joined various militant outfits “are also my sons” and “I respect them all.” But, she said, Faid was too young. “Please, send him back to his home, else I will die,” she said while making an appeal through media to the militant outfit Faid has reportedly joined.
Faid had left his home in Akilmir locality of Srinagar’s Khanyar area on March 23 after telling his parents that he would be going with Tablighi Jamaat, an offshoot of Deobandi movement.
Maimoona said that Faid who had failed to qualify his 10th standard examination last year and was mentally disturbed since was more inclined to religion. “Keeping that in view, I let him go. He had gone with them earlier also”, she said.
Faid had promised that he would be returning home on this Monday (March 26) but his mother and other family members were shocked when a photograph showing him wielding an AK 47 assault rifle appeared in social media. He is reported to have joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit.
“This is the first time that he has lied to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he would be joining militants’ ranks,” she said.
Faid’s uncle Zahoor Ahmed Wani confirmed his nephew was looking somewhat disturbed for some time. “I could decipher something is brewing inside him. He was not showing any interest in studies but no one in the family thought he would be taking this extreme step where you are destined to die sooner than expected”.
Faid’s joining militancy comes days after Junaid Ashraf Khan, the 26-year-old son of prominent separatist leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, left his Srinagar home saying he would be offering Friday prayers at a nearby mosque. But next day, a photograph showing him brandishing an AK 47 rifle appeared in social media with a message that he has joined Hizb-ul-Mujahedin, the frontline indigenous militant outfit.
J&K’s Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid, had urged Sehrai who recently took over as the chairman of Tehrik-e-Hurriyat (TeH) replacing octogenarian Syed Ali Shah Geelani to appeal his son and other Kashmiri youth who have turned to the gun to shun violence. Vaid had said, “Sehrai Sahib is now in command. He should appeal his son and other local boys wielding gun to return. He should himself take lead in entering into a dialogue so that the youth of Kashmir are saved from the path of violence.” But 74-year-old Sehrai has ignored the appeal.
The TeH is the dominant constituent of the Hurriyat Conference faction led by Geelani.
The police officials here say that there is an upward trend of Kashmiri youth joining the militants’ ranks. The figures placed in the State Assembly by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, recently revealed that following the slaying of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the young militant commander who became an icon of the youth in the Valley, mainly due to his activity on social media, more and more youth were attracted to the gun.
Out of 280 youth who joined militancy, about two hundred did it after Wani was along with two other cadres of Hizb-ul-Mujahedin outfit killed during a military operation in Kokernag area of southern Anantnag on July 8, 2016. Mufti who is also heading the Home department had said that 126 youth joined militancy in 2017, 88 in 2016 and 66 in 2015 in the Valley.
Wani’s killing had sparked deadly protests and a widespread public unrest in the Valley and parts of the State’s Jammu region which continued for six months. More than eighty people died and thousands others were injured.
The police officials said that more youth have joined various militant outfits during past few weeks. But they added that nearly 250 militants were also killed during counterinsurgency operations during past fifteen months.