Sopore: Thousands of people poured onto the streets of Sopore when the body of Riyaz Ahmad Dar reached home in Naseerabad Sopore. Riyaz, 22, had left home on July 12 this year, without telling his family that he was going to join militant ranks. He was studying in Class 12 at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School Sopore when he was arrested last year on charges of stone-pelting. For more than a year, he was imprisoned at Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). He had been released from jail three months before he left his home, Riyaz’s uncle, Ghulam-ud-Din Bhat, told Kashmir Reader.
“When he went missing from home on July 12, only 22 days back, we looked for him everywhere. We lodged a missing report at Sopore police station on July 18 and visited many security forces’ camps, all in vain,” Riyaz’s uncle, waiting for the body to arrive at Riyaz’s home, said with tears in his eyes.
According to a senior police official, Riyaz was arrested a couple of times on charges of stone-pelting and for being an over-ground worker (OGW) for militants.
Many women from the neighbourhood, waiting for the body to arrive, were holding pots full of candies in their hands. Women shower the body of a young militant with candies, like bridegrooms are, in Kashmir.
“Riyaz made a phone call to us last night and told us that he was trapped. We requested him to surrender. He refused and said that he was on the right path and would die on it. He requested his family to pray for him. When Riyaz’s father asked his son why he had left him alone, he replied to his father, ‘I will meet you in heaven,’” Ghulam-ud-Din Bhat said.
Funeral prayers for Riyaz were held at Mehrajpora locality of Sopore. Thousands of people including children, women and the elderly attended the prayers. Men wept along with women when the body was being carried towards its final resting place.
Riyaz was laid to rest at the martyrs’ graveyard in Chankipora, right next to the two most daredevil militants in the insurgent history of Sopore. One was popularly known as Akbar Bhai, who had come from Afghanistan, and the other was known as the “smartest militant”, Ibn Masood from Sopore.
“I am sure that no one is going to fill the void that he has left in our lives,” Riyaz’s uncle Ghulam-ud-Din Bhat said.
Riyaz was the lone son of his family. He is survived by a younger sister and aged parents.