Kakapora/ Padgampora(KHalid Gull): Like many militants killed during the past two years, the three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants killed today were young. Two of them, had they not picked up arms, could have had a future in engineering and management. The third was a school dropout.
Majid Ahmad Mir, 19, and Shakir Ahmad Gogjoo, 18, both natives of Kakapora town in Pulwama, and Irshad Ahmad Dar (Sheraz) of Aghanjipora- Padgampora in Awantipora area were killed in a gunfight in Kakpora town of Pulwama district.
Majid, who came from a well-to-do family, had been pursuing a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Srinagar Polytechnic College and was in his third semester when he left home to join militants on June 24 last year, barely two weeks before Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed.
His father Abdul Hamid Mir is an employee at the Government Joinery Mill, Pampore, while his three elder brothers run a family business.
“Mir family has poultry business and own a restaurant too,” said the neighbors who had gathered in the compound of their palatial house.
They said the family also own orchards and agriculture land.
“My brother was living the life of a king. Being the youngest we had provided him everything he needed. He had both a car as well as a bike. He never talked about his intentions but one fine morning he left and today he returned a martyr,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, Mir’s brother
He said it was the same month of Holy Ramadhan, the 18th day of fasting to be precise, when Majid left home.
“During the past one year our entire family was harassed. All of us siblings and our father were summoned to police stations and army camps,” said Imtiyaz. Their home was ransacked by the forces on several occasions, he said.
Majid’s friends describe him as a brilliant student who was equally good in sports.
“He was not a bookworm but he scored 80% marks in 12th standard and later joined BTech in a Chandigarh college only to return after a few months to join the Polytechnic College in Srianagar,” said one of his childhood friends, requesting anonymity.
He said Majid was a good athlete and none in the locality matched his cricket and football skills.
“He won several matches at district level for his team,” he added.
The neighbors said the family was given a few charred pieces of flesh.
During a couple of gunfights with militants, it has been noticed, that government forces first blow up the houses where the militants are holed up with explosives and then set it on fire to kill any chances of militants escaping alive. The forces resorted to this practice after a militant, hiding in an almirah, survived explosions during a gunfight in Tral before being rescued by locals from the debris.
“Imagine the pain of the parents who are not able to see their sons’ bodies intact one last time?” said Abdul Rahim, a resident of Pulwama.
Another boy, Shakir Ahmad Gogjoo, 18, had recently applied for admission in Bachelor of Business Administration course in a college in Chandigarh.
The eldest among his three siblings, he was scheduled to leave on April 25 for the college, but went missing from home a week earlier.
“Police had been looking for him and he left home on April 18 this year,” said Shakir’s cousin Aadil Ahmad.
The family came to learn that Shakir had joined militancy from a photograph that went viral on social networking sites and showed him holding a gun.
“One thing we will always regret is that we could not see his face one last time as his entire body was charred beyond recognition. We buried a few pieces of flesh,” said Aadil, sobbing.
Shakir’s father Bashir Ahmad Gogjoo, who runs a shop, has been paralysed for more than a decade now. The family is struggling to meet the expenses.
“He is suffering from a severe neurological ailment and remains bed ridden,” Aadil added.
The third boy, Irshad Ahmnad Dar of Aghanjipora village in Padgampora – Awantipora, barely 17, a school dropout, was the youngest among his siblings.
He used to extract sand from a river to support his family. His father Muhamad Sultan Dar is a laborer and has four sons and three daughters.
“On May 7 I and all my sons except Irshad were summoned by the police. We were released on the condition that we will bring Irshad along the next day. But the same evening he went missing,” said Muhammad Sultan.
“We looked for him everywhere but to no avail. Nobody told us that he has joined militants. Yesterday evening at around 8pm we were surprised when he called us for the first time since the day he went missing that he has been trapped in a cordon,” he added.
He said that at around 11am he called again and said that they had escaped the siege.
“Irshad must have felt that his mother will be worried and hence he lied to her. But in the morning we were informed that he has been killed,” the father said.
Like the two other families, he was handed over charred body pieces for burial.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people joined the funeral prayers of Irshad Ahmed Dar on Wednesday. After offering Fajr (morning prayer), hundreds of mourners drove to Aghanzipora and Awantipora to participate in Irfan’s funeral and to have his last glimpse. At least three back-to-back funeral prayers were held at Aghanzipora and Jamia Masjid Awantipora till 11 am.