PULWAMA: Mohammad Shafi, the militant killed on Thursday in Padgampora village of Pulwama, started his career in militancy by providing logistical support to his elder brother, Adil Ahmad, who picked up the gun soon after the 2010 protests in Kashmir. Adil joined the ranks of Lashkar-e-Toiba and remained active until he was killed in an encounter at Lelhar village in Pulwama district on February 15, 2016.
A resident of Banderpura village in Awantipora, Shafi became a sore in the eyes of the government’s security establishment for his open support to his brother and his associates. Shafi’s friends and neighbours said that government forces began harassing him and his family as soon as Adil joined militant ranks.
“Shafi was picked up by the forces at least thrice. He was taken to different camps within a few months of his brother joining militancy,” said one of Shafi’s friends.
The friend said that eight months after Adil took up arms, Shafi also chose armed rebellion and joined the LeT. The brothers worked in close coordination for almost two years.
“When Adil was gunned down last year at Lelhar village, Shafi along with two of his associates came armed with weapons to his funeral,” a neighbour of the family said.
Shafi continued to operate in Pulwama and Shopian areas and was believed to be close to many top commanders of the LeT.
On Thursday morning, he was caught in the cordon laid by government forces along with his associate Jehangir Ahmad. Both were killed after the forces rained mortar shells on the house they were holed up in.
As the encounter was on, police brought Shafi’s family members, including his parents, wife and little daughter, to persuade him to surrender. But Shafi continued to give stiff resistance until the last moment.
Both the brothers, one of their relatives said, were initially involved in the family’s milk business and later adopted driving as their profession. Adil had passed his Class 12 exams and Shafi had studied till Class 10.