From printing press to militant ranks

From printing press to militant ranks
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Junaid Rather

Srinagar: The slain Srinagar militant, Fayyaz Ahmad Hammal, was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) for the past one year and before that worked in a local printing press.
Fayaz, according to his brother Sajad Ahmad Hammal, had created a good number of clients while working in the printing press. Sajad, who was sitting in a tent that was erected on the main road outside his home at Khanqah-e-Moula, told Kashmir Reader that when his brother was working at the printing press, he would often go to Delhi. “Over the years he had created a good number of clients and would get good business,” Sajad said, adding, “I have seen my brother going to Delhi twice a week.”
Sajad said that Fayyaz told his family on March 1, 2017, that he was going to Delhi and if he manages a visa, he will go to Saudi Arabia. “When we lost correspondence with him, we went to a local police station and lodged a missing report there,” Sajad said.
“In mid-April (2017), the police station Maharaj Gunj called me and informed that my brother had joined militancy,” said Sajad. “By then his pictures on social media had appeared. We all were taken aback. As far as I knew my brother, he was not at all inclined towards militancy. I have no idea what pushed him towards militancy.”
He added, “We were waiting for our brother to return from Delhi.”
Sajad said that soon after pictures of Fayaz appeared on social media, his mother’s health worsened.
Asked whether the family regrets Fayaz’s decision of joining militant ranks, Sajad said, “I am proud that my brother chose a death that is close to Allah and that, too, for the sacred cause of Kashmir. I pray that I meet my brother in the hereafter.”
Sajad further said that his brother wished to be buried in the martyrs’ graveyard at Eidgah. “He would say, even if I die a normal death, please beg people that I should be buried in the martyrs’ graveyard,” Sajad said.
“As Fayaz was very religious, he would always talk about death and the hereafter. I remember in January 2017 we were sitting in our kitchen when he told mother that he had a dream that he should be buried in the martyrs’ graveyard, even if we have to beg for it,” Sajad said.
Sajad said their father passed away in the year 1999. Since then, the elder brother Mehraj ud Din and Fayyaz began to take care of the family.
“Mehraj bhaijan would do daily-wage work, and Fayaz would work as a salesman in a nearby shop. The duo was the source of income for our family,” Sajad said.
He said that Fayyaz was like a father to him. “I have lost everything. Ask a brother what it means to shoulder the coffin of his elder brother. It is beyond pain and courage. As siblings we were very close. The only thing that would upset Fayyaz bhai was if anyone in the family would miss prayers. He was very strict when it came to religion,” Sajad said.