SRINAGAR: The life trajectory of Eisa Fazili, an engineering student and son of a school principal, took a sudden turn during the month of Ramazan last year, when he went for ‘Eitikaf’, an Islamic practice of spending ten days in a mosque.
After he returned from the mosque, he began to lower his gaze before his female cousins, with whom he earlier used to freely chat about his personal life, career plans, cricket, but never about militancy. He also became sombre, almost grim. In conversations he now took little part, except of responding with the sayings of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-born Islamic lecturer, motivator and recruiter for Al-Qaida.
“It was thought that he was inspired by a sect that disallows communication with gair mahrams (women whom a man can marry),” a family source told Kashmir Reader.
When his beliefs were questioned, he would quote Awlaki. If that failed to prove his point, he would show Awlaki’s videos on internet. If even this didn’t work, he withdrew into silence.
“He would accuse others of not knowing the version of Islam which be believed was correct. But this never made us suspect that could join militancy,” the source said.
Eisa, he said, had a sheltered childhood. He was from a well-to-do family and was a homely, docile boy. He began offering prayers since he was 4, and till the time he left home last year, had been offering them religiously.
Eisa would ask the women in his family and women relatives to stay in purdah (veil). Days ahead of the festival of Eid-ul-Bakr, he would dig a ditch to bury the blood and unused remains of the slaughtered animals, to prevent them from being “dishonoured”.
Unlike most militants who had a history of being harassed or tortured by government forces, Eisa had never been to a police station, nor did the police have any record against him. After he became a militant, his name made its entry in police records: of involvement in the killing of a cop at Soura. His family questions the police version and asserts that he could not have been involved.
Eisa went to school at the famous Burn Hall in Srinagar. His father is the principal of a higher secondary school. The last time he called his father was when he was studying at Ghulam Shah Budshah University for a B.Tech. He told his father on the phone that he needed money for a business venture. He never again called home. He also deleted all his social media accounts. Public pleas made by his father for him to return, even the deteriorating health of his mother, did not convince Eisa to return.
Naeem Fazili, Eisa’s father, had taken to Facebook to write a passionate appeal to his son to return to the family. Today, Fazili again wrote on his Facebook timeline, to announce the death of his son.