ANANTNAG: Early in the morning on the day the Malik family of Verinag in Anantnag district was preparing for the engagement ceremony of their elder son, the festivities turned into mourning after their youngest son, a militant, was killed by government forces during an gunfight.
Malik Naseer Ahmad, a retired employee of the Social Forestry department of the state government, and his wife Shahzada were busy through the day on Wednesday, getting things arranged and readying food for the occasion.
The celebrations, however, were stalled in the early morning on Thursday soon after gunshots reverberated in Gazigund village of Dooru, not far from where the Malik household lived.
Asif Malik, the elderly couple’s youngest son, was killed in Gazigund village in a gun battle with government forces early Thursday morning. He was associated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Gloom fell over the family and the entire area as the news of Asif’s killing reached the village. The celebrations were halted, the engagement cancelled and preparations were made for a funeral.
“My brother, engineer Malik Azhar, was getting engaged, and my wife was coming home after the birth of our daughter. We were a happy lot, but that was till morning,” Ishfaq Ahmad, a selection grade police constable told Kashmir Reader.
Ahmad said that the festivity turned into mourning this morning when the news of their brother’s killing came in.
“The food was left untouched and engagement of my brother was cancelled. My wife did come but not to a festive house but into a mourning one,” Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
An engineering graduate from Chandigarh, Asif had joined militant ranks last September, after working for a few years in private sector.
Having also pursued a diploma from KITE College in Srinagar, Asif worked for two and a half years at the FIL Industries, owned by former People’s Democratic Party minister Altaf Bukhari.
“He left the job and joined Airtel for he did not keep well in Srinagar,” Ishfaq said.
After working in Airtel for a few months, he left home one day and returned on Thursday, after a year, dead.
Later in the day, Asif was buried amid wails and slogans. Thousands attended Asif’s funeral, and his fellow militants turned up to offer a gun salute.