Sopore: A few days after Eid-ul-Fitr in July 2015, Gulzar Ahmad Lone, son of Ghulam Mohammad Lone, resident of Gund Brath village of Sopore, left home with the excuse of going on some work, never to return. Gulzar had a Bachelors degree in Arts, a Diploma from the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), and worked in an electronic repair shop in Sopore town.
“It was early in the morning when Gulzar told us that he was going out for some work,” Ghulam Mohammad, the 80-year-old father of the slain militant, told Kashmir Reader. “After a couple of hours, the shopkeeper at Sopore where Gulzar used to sit and repair electronic things, called me and asked, ‘Where is Gulzar? He has not come today.’ I immediately called Gulzar but his phone was switched off.”
“When he went missing, we looked for him everywhere. We lodged a missing report at Sopore police station. All in vain. Then I began to be called by police at different stations and by the army at their camps. From them I came to know that my son had become militant,” Ghulam Mohammad said.
“The last time I saw my son was when he came to meet us last year. We didn’t talk much as he was in a hurry. He only said, ‘It was my decision to become a militant. You should accept this reality’,” Ghulam Mohammad said.
“Last night, when we were about to do Iftari (break the Ramzan fast), Gulzar called us and said that he was trapped and couldn’t escape. He requested us to pray to Allah to accept his martyrdom. He asked us to forgive him if he had ever hurt us. The call made us worried and uneasy. We didn’t have our Iftar. The night was long for us, and in the morning we received news that my son had been killed in an encounter,” Ghulam Mohammad said.
He said that Gulzar was never arrested or involved in any mischief. “He was my good son. He never raised his voice in front of me, even if I scolded or slapped him,” Ghulam Mohammad said.
“Once he was caught by the army soldiers of Pazalpora camp, when he was returning from Bandipora. They beat him and took his ID card. He didn’t tell us about it, until a day when he was in pain and then he cried out that he was beaten by the army. He never went to that camp to take back his ID card. Gulzar was the youngest of his siblings and the most loved one,” Ghulam Mohammad said.