Suhail A Shah
Anantnag: The family of Khursheed Ahmad Malik, an engineering graduate who left home to join militant ranks only a couple of days ago, was awaiting his return Friday morning after making an emotional, passionate appeal to him to shun the gun the day before.
The family did receive a call from Khursheed on Friday morning, but it was to inform that he was trapped in a gunfight in Sopore.
“His sisters, his ailing mother, and his father took turns to plead with him. They tried to convince him to lay down arms but he did not relent,” a source close to the family told Kashmir Reader.
Khursheed, along with another militant from Sopore, was killed after a fierce, night-long gun battle with government forces in Drusoo village of Sopore.
Having passed a BTech course in 2016 from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) in Katra in Jammu, Khursheed had told his family that he was preparing for entrance exams to the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS).
His father is a farmer who strove hard to enable his son to study. The family had high hopes from their son who they thought was going to clear the prestigious civil services exams.
Khursheed, though, had other plans. This week, early Tuesday morning, Khursheed left his home in Arabal village in Nikas area of Pulwama district, on the pretext that he had to go to Pulwama town to submit online his application form for KAS exams.
“He left his smartphone at home and took a smaller phone with him. His parents kept calling him when he failed to return home that evening,” the source close to the family said.
He said that the worried family started looking for him and, subsequently, came to know through police that he had joined militant ranks.
The desperate family on Thursday took to social media. Through a recorded video, they appealed to Khursheed to return home, and to other militants “to let him do so”.
“He is our only brother and all three of us are married. Who will take care of our ailing mother if her only son is not around?” one of his sisters said, sitting next to her mother.
Malik’s sister said that her brother’s first “Jihad” was to look after his ailing mother, “which we cannot do because we are all married in distant places.”
“We request our brothers (militants) to let him go so that he can take care of his mother. That should be his first moral obligation,” the sister pleaded.
The pleas seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, as did the ones made during the last phone call made by Malik to his home.
“He did apologise to his family during that last phone call. For what, I don’t know,” the family source said.
Kashmir Reader tried to talk to the family members but they had gone to collect the body of Khursheed from a police station in distant Sopore.
As the news of Khursheed’s killing spread this morning in Pulwama district, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in most parts of the district. Clashes erupted in some parts as well. No one was reported injured during the clashes, however.
Mourners awaiting the body of Malik had already swelled to thousands in Arabal village to take part in the funeral prayers. Hundreds of others were on their way to the village.
The body was yet to reach the village while this report was being filed.