Srinagar: The family of Ahtesham Bilal Sofi, the 17-year-old Sharda University student who reportedly has joined the Islamic State Jammu Kashmir (ISJK), Saturday appealed to militants to have “mercy on us” and let him return home.
Ahtesham’s father Bilal Ahmad Sofi made the appeal in a video message that is being shared widely on social media.
Bilal said his son was the “only male heir of an extended family” and asked the militant to allow him return home.
“Have mercy on us and let him return. Allah will have mercy on you,” he said.
Ahtesham, a resident of Khanyar locality in downtown Srinagar, was a first-year graduation student at the university at Greater Noida. He went missing on October 28 after he left the varsity with official permission to go to Delhi, days after he was roughed up during a scuffle between Indian and Afghan students in the campus.
Later, pictures on social media showed Ahtesham dressed in a black outfit and claimed he had joined the ISJK, an outfit influenced by ISIS ideology.
“Your paradise is your parents, you are the only hope of 12 family members. Did you forget that this house has seen four deaths in the last two years,” said Bilal in the fervent appeal with tears streaming down his face.
The mother of the teenager also pleaded and begged her only son to return home as she wept inconsolably next to her husband.
Following Ahtesham’s disappearance, a missing complaint was registered at the Knowledge Park police station in Greater Noida as well as at Khanyar police station in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) said it has been tracking the case since October 28 and has taken cognisance of the photos.
“We are in touch with Jammu and Kashmir police. We are tracking the footprints of the boy from Greater Noida to Kashmir,” Inspector General, ATS, Asim Arun told PTI.
The J&K police said they were “ascertaining” Sofi’s presence in the Valley.
The Gautam Buddh Nagar police, who had traced the last location of Sofi’s mobile phone to Pulwama district in South Kashmir, is also probing the matter.
“A missing complaint was registered and police teams are working on the case,” a senior official told PTI.
According to the police in Noida, Sofi had left for Srinagar from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the afternoon of October 28 and reached Pulwama a few hours later.
They said his mobile phone details showed that he last spoke to his father, who lives in Srinagar, at 4.30 pm, when his location was traced to Pulwama.
However, he had told his father that he was is Delhi and was returning to the university by metro, the police said.