Redwani (Kulgam): This is the tale of two militants who came from neighbouring villages in Kulgam’s Redwani area, but picked up the guns for different reasons.
Their stories have little in common, but they died during a fierce gun battle on Sunday in Kulgam during which four militants, one civilian and two army personnel were killed.
Mudasir A Tantray (28) of Redwani picked up the gun as a choice to fight what he perceived as interminable “zulm” (oppression) in Kashmir, while Mohammad Younis (25) who lived in close by Howura village took to arms after he was allegedly harassed by the army and police.
“I am trapped in a cordon,” Mudasir’s brother Abdul Majeed Tantray quoted Mudasir telling his brother-in-law during his last mobile phone call.
“Please pray for me. If I have hurt anybody, please forgive me. I seek forgiveness from all,” Mudasir told the family member.
Tantray said Mudasir’s last call came at 3:45 am on Sunday when the intense battle was on between the army and the trapped militants.
“Then and there we came to know, he would not survive. The next day police gave us the body of Mudasir,” he said.
Mudasir had a shuttering business, his brother said, adding that he joined the ranks of pro-Pakistan militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on August 28, 2014.
“He had studied up to the twelfth class. He was a religious man. He was known for his noble deeds in the whole village,” Tantray said.
As the days passed, the family tried hard to bring him back home,
Mudasir’s another brother Mohammad Ashraf said.
“During the uprising of 2016, he came home several times. Mother asked him to return to normal life. She told him to ‘come back’,” Ashraf said.
“He refused to surrender. He told us that if Kashmir was under zulm (oppression) how can he sit idle and see it happening. He told us that sacrificing in the path of Islam was his mission. He said in case of Kashmir, jehad was incumbent on every Muslim,” he added.
Locals said Mudasir took proper permission from home to join militant outfit.
“He became militant by choice. It was the political happening and the repression in the surroundings which made him to pick up the gun. There is suffocation all around,” a 25-year-old local boy, wearing a green bandana on his head, told Kashmir Reader.
Just close to Redwani, in Hawura, hundreds of people had assembled to remember Mohammad Younis.
“His life as a militant was for mere six weeks. He picked up arms on January 01, 2017,” Mohammad Ashraf, brother of Younis, told Kashmir Reader.
Ashraf said that Younis was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami and had two post-graduate degrees, in sociology and Islamic studies. He said that his brother was religious and “it would be rare he would miss the daily prayers”.
“He did not talk much. He remained always calm,” Ashraf said.
“Younis remained in jail for over four years in connection with the killing of a Sarpanch in 2012. He was innocent, but the local animosity played its role. Cases were framed against him and he was sent to jail,” Ashraf said.
After he was released, Ashraf said, Younis would often be called by the local army camp located in Sanigam.
“The army harassed him. The police would file cases against him during the 2016 uprising. He would be called again and again to police station and to the local army camp at Sanigam. The army was after him. They would ask him to show up at their camp every day,” Ashraf said.
“Fed up by the attitude of the government forces towards him, he left home never to return. The harassment and torture was the main reason for his decision. Even if he would have fought politically, there was no space for him,” he added.
On Sunday, when the news broke about the encounter between militants and army at Frisal Kulgam, Ashraf said, they had no idea Mudasir was among the militants present there.
“We had no idea Mudasir too was trapped at Frisal. We came to know at 1:30 pm Sunday that he died when local Wanpoh police station informed us. Afterwards, they handed over his body,” Ashraf said.
Mudasir has two brothers and his father remains ill.
“Soon after, he left the house, father fell ill. His blood pressure increased. He is not recuperating. He remains silent. He is in pain,” Ashraf said.