SRINAGAR: On April 2 last year, Mugees Ahmad Mir disappeared from his home. Yesterday, on November 17, his mother Hajra Bano, 55, received a call from an unknown number. It was Mugees, saying that he wanted to meet her.
Basharat, Mugees’s younger brother, recalled, “I was at my gym when my mother came rushing. She said, ‘Start the car, we need to move’.”
At 9:30pm, Hajra Bano brought home her eldest son, in a body bag. The body was kept at home the entire night. The next day, Mugees was buried at 11am amid massive anti-India and pro-Islam slogans.
“Some masked man led the funeral procession,” a neighbour said.
The area outside the Mirs’ house at Parimpora witnessed street clashes all day after Mugees was buried.
There are several twists and turns on the way to the Mirs’ house in congested Parimpora, situated along the southern bank of the Jhelum.
Groups of youth are sitting in the room where Mugees’s body was kept for the night. They keep recalling the slain militant’s early life, and some of them pass among themselves photographs of Mugees brandishing a gun.
“A few days after he left home, we came to know that he had joined militant ranks,” said one of Mugees’s relatives. “A few days before, his brother-in-law had been picked up by the police. Mugees had started receiving calls from police saying that he, too, was involved.”
A police official said that Mugees had two FIRs registered against his name, including one in Anantnag for murder.
“Mugees was running a timber shop at his own shopping complex near the new bus stand at Parimpora,” one of his neighbours said. “However, he was very concerned about his physique and remained involved in bodybuilding activities. He was a smart guy, donning long hair, who got married at an early age.”
Mugees is survived by a month-old son. “Four of his babies died days after they were born,” said Basharat, Mugees’s brother.
Mugees got married in December 2011. He was in his late twenties when he left studies. He then began studying religious scriptures.
“He was clear in what he was doing,” asserted one of his relatives. “He did not want to die for nationalism; it was his wish to be buried draped in the Islamic flag.”
When Mugees’s body reached home, he was wearing a T-shirt that had the flag of the “Islamic State” on it.
Basharat said that police raided their house and gym a month before Mugees left home in early 2016. “We had to move from one house to another for shelter,” he said.
Addressing the gathering of mourners at her home, Hajra Bano thanked the people of Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian for “nourishing her son like a mother”.
A wrist watch, clothes, and shoes are what remain of Mugees’s memory for his family. The flag of Islam, inscribed on a heart-shaped picture, hangs on the wall of the room where his body was kept for the night.
Police said that Mugees had initially joined the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
After his death, the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TeM) claimed that Mugees was its Pulwama district chief, who has now been succeeded by Dawood Salfi, a long-time associate of the slain Mugees. Salfi is a resident of Mustafabad, Zainakote.
“A bullet had hit him on the back. It pierced through his chest,” said a youth who shouldered Mugees’s coffin.
The TeM said in its statement, “India is trying to give a colour of ISIS and is trying to relate Kashmir Freedom Struggle with Taliban to defame it at International level. It is doing so to gain support and sympathy from the global powers.”