By SHERFUN NISA
KULGAM: Jaanah Begum, a resident of Hadigam in Kulgam district was travelling in an auto rickshaw to a hospital on Sunday, when a gunfight between militants and government forces at Frisal had killed eight people including four militants.
When the rickshaw driver mentioned that one of the killed militants was from Hadigam, Jaanah felt her heart stop.
Jaanah hadn’t seen her son, Wakeel Ahmad Thokar, for more than five months, ever since he left home to join militancy without telling her. Would she have to see him dead now? She had to.
“I have not seen my son for the past five months and now people brought him in my yard to show me his face,” said Jaanah.
The environment at Wakeel’s home in Hadigam is gloomy, all eyes soaked in tears.
“I became a heart patient from the day my son left home. He has left me with many good things to remember but one thing to shed tears for whole life. It pierces my heart when I think about his leaving home without meeting me. I had much to say to him. He left like a stranger not giving me a chance to shower my love on him,” said Jaanah.
A graduate in arts and a painter by profession, Wakeel left home on 6 September 2016 leaving his family to gaze at the walls painted by him and wonder, what led him to pick up the gun.
Sabzar Ahmad Thokar, Wakeel’s brother said that he (Wakeel) had inclination towards art from childhood and had “every facility to fulfill his dream of becoming a great artist.”
“After he left home he never came to us. We tried hard to get him back but he was not meant for his family but God,” said Sabzar.
“Wakeel was very sober in nature. He had that politeness in him even whole village of Haddigam cannot compete to his nobility,” said Abdul Rashid Thokar, Wakeel’s cousin.
On Sunday the Thokar family was unaware about the Wakeel’s death until late. Sabzar says he went to attend the funeral of another militant killed in the gunfight Farooq Ahmad Dar at Arreh, from where he was called back by his relatives.
Farooq had also joined militancy during the 2016 uprising and was killed in the same gunfight as Wakeel.
Farooq was a few months senior to Wakeel in the militant camp, having picked up the gun just three days after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani, on 11 July 2016.
The residents of Arreh village said that Farooq was jolly and often joked about joining militancy.
His family said he was the only one to make the family laugh. “He was every body’s favorite for his cheerful nature.”
“Before leaving home he used to visit his neighbors very often to seek their forgiveness. But we had no idea that he was serious about it. We thought he might be joking because humour was in his blood,” said Nazir Ahmad Dar, uncle of Farooq.
However, apart from being jolly, they said Farooq was very religious and never missed his prayers or fasts.
Mohammad Yousuf Dar, Farooq’s father said that he never wanted wealth for his children but only tried to make their “hereafter best”.
“He left home on his choice. For a month we tried to locate him but could not, we lodged an FIR in police station Kulgam and distributed his photographs. Then after one month and few days he visited us during day to meet his mother and asked for prayers,” Sheraaz said.
Farooq had dropped out of school in 10th class, and joined the family business of shuttering. He also tried his hand at tailoring, and would work as a labourer too.
“Farooq was a technical hand and used to repair every electronic device in the house,” said Sheraaz.