The Story After The Killing
Why Parents Of Hybrid Militants Are Left Ashamed, Devastated
By Gayatri Mohan
Over the last one year, hybrid militants have been much in news. They emerge from the shadows, they kill, they move back into the normalcy of their lives.
But what about those hybrid militants who are arrested, or those who come under the radar of the Police or the Army? It is their parents who have to bear the cross of social shame. It is their parents who are left saying – we cannot face the society. Herein lies the story of the shift in Kashmir.
In bygone years, families used to boast that their son has become a militant or an Over Ground Worker. Now, the acts of violence by hybrid militants leave parents with a deep sense of shame. They are not able to face the families whose members was killed by their family member.
One reason for the shift is that Kashmir is now violence weary. Violence has lost social sanction. Coupled with this is the fact that Kashmir continues to be a deeply religious society. Taking the life of a fellow human being is considered as a grievous sin.
For these reasons, parents of hybrid militants are unable to come to terms with the news that their son is a killer. They face shame in facing the community.
Samboora Village, Pulwama District
Parents Of Boys Who Aided Cop’s Killing Feel Deeply Ashamed
Farooq Ahmad Mir, a Sub-Inspector with JK Police, was killed in mid-June by a hybrid militant. Farooq resided at Samboora village in Pulwama district. He was the son of 90-year-old Abdul Gani Mir, a farmer.
Within days of his killing, security forces found that Farooq had been killed by hybrid militants. One of his killers was identified as Majid Nazir Wani, the elder son of a taxi driver named Nazir Ahmad Wani. Majid was shot dead in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama’s Tujjan village.
In the investigation related to Farooq’s killing, the role of three teenagers came to light. These teenagers were from Samboora, the same village where Farooq resided. They lived in his neighbourhood, and one of them was his distant relative.
Two of these teenagers are stated to be minors. The family of the third teenager also claims that their son is a minor, because juvenile criminals are given softer punishments by courts of law.
The three teenagers were arrested by the police. What sentence does the court pronounce for them remains to be seen. But their families are already bearing the brunt of the crimes of their sons. The family members of these teenagers say that they are not able to face the victim’s family or their fellow villagers because of the extreme act of violence by their sons.
Karfli Mohalla, Srinagar
Parents Of 17-Year-Old Hybrid Militant Left Devastated
For Bashir Ahmad Sheikh of Karfli Mohalla in Srinagar mourns the loss of his elder son, Shahid Bashir Sheikh. Bashir Ahmad is a street vendor in Batmaloo, a bustling area in Srinagar. He has been ailing for the last few years with a chronic back problem and was unable to work. Shahid stepped into his father’s shoes at a young age and became the family’s bread-winner.
Shahid went missing in August. On October 2, Mohd Shafi Dar, an employee of the Power Department, was killed. Police identified Shahid as one of the killers. When the police informed Shahid’s parents about this, they were devastated.
Even now, Shahid’s parents are swamped by shame that their elder son became a killer and took the life of a man. They bemoan the loss of their son who worked so lovingly to support the family. They curse the terror operators – both in Pakistan and within Kashmir society – who indoctrinated their innocent child into becoming a militant. The parents feel a deep sense of bereavement that the terror operators made their simple son a killer.
Khonmoh, Srinagar Outskirts
Father of Hybrid Militant Cannot Face Society
Khonmoh village in north Srinagar was shaken by a killing in early March this year. Saqib Khan, a village lad, shot dead the local sarpanch Sameer Ahmad Bhat. Saqib’s father Mushtaq Ahmad Khan cries that he cannot walk in the village with his head held high. He cries that he feels ashamed to face Sameer Bhat’s family, and he feels ashamed to face the rest of the village.
When people came to speak to Mushtaq Ahmad Khan about his son’s act, he wailed that he was unable to understand why his son turned into a killer. The killer Saqib Khan is now dead. But his father Mushtaq Ahmad Khan has some questions for his son. “What did you do? Who told you? What was his fault?” he keeps crying, seeking answers from his dead son. The rest of Saqib’s family is also distraught about the killing. They feel shame in facing up to the rest of the village for Saqib’s act.
What Does The Change Signify?
In UK, in the US, in Europe and Australia and other foreign lands, Pakistan’s terror assets are busy spinning stories on Kashmir. They are busy selling the impression that Kashmir’s militancy is homegrown. They do not tell the outside world that Kashmir is now violence weary. They do not tell the truth that Kashmiris want to see an end to blood of innocents being spilled on the streets. Kashmiris do not want their sons to become killers. They want their children to lead peaceful, normal lives.
Kashmir is proud of its deeply close-knit communities. Social respect is a major factor in Kashmir. Social dignity is given high regard. Parents whose sons turn killers are devastated by the fall from grace. This has also led to introspection at some levels. People are quietly questioning the cost of aligning with Pakistan, which they have lost their nears and dears.
This change is making Kashmir’s youth question the path taken by those who choose violence. The shift is still latent, but it is being felt. This self-questioning is making youth realize that they must focus on building a livelihood so that they can care for their parents and loved ones. There is increasing realization that the path of violence is not the right path to take. It leaves parents without support and without strength in old age, with no one to hold their hand or care for them. It leaves families ruined and shattered.