“Police forced Athar Dar to take up the Arms”
SOPORE (Agencies), Dec 18: Atir Ahmad Dar, 19, a Commerce student from Sopore was planning to pursue his further business studies abroad. But alleged police harassment forced him to join a militant outfit. He was killed in an encounter Tuesday evening at Sopore, leaving behind his unfinished dreams.
Mohammad Yousuf Dar, father of Atir Ahmad, attributes his morphing into a militant from a bright student to the torture and harassments committed by the Police. “He wanted to study business abroad but the torture and harassments of police and SOG instigated him to turn into a militant,” says his father, according to a report by The Vox Kashmir (news portal).
During the uprising in 2010, Atir was allegedly involved in stone throwing in his area. In July 2012, Atir was arrested for his alleged involvement in stone throwing and was lodged in Sopore Police station where he was in custody for a month. “It was there in the custody that he was influenced to join the militant group, out of police torture and harassment,” says his elder brother Ishfaq Ahmad who is a driver by occupation. “They did not even spare our family. I along with my brother and two cousins were arrested for two weeks and our two vehicles were seized too,” he adds. Atir’s second brother Tawheed Ahmad is physically handicapped since childhood. He is suffering from polio. “Even he was detained and was kept in a dark room. He wanted to burn himself there, such was the mental torture he went through,” adds Mohd. Yousuf.
“My both sons have been left jobless as their vehicles are seized. If police continues to torture them mentally, I fear they might also turn into militants,” Atir’s father grieves.
Mohd. Yousuf was also taken into custody. “I was kept in custody for two days. They would ask me the whereabouts of my son which none of us knew,” Atir’s father says.
Atir joined Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistan based militant outfit working in Kashmir, after he was told by the police that he would not be able to get his passport and visa ever. “DSP Sopore Police Station once told him that his career was ruined and he would never be able to go abroad for studies – which was Atir’s dream,” Ishfaq Ahmad, his brother says. “He knew his career was ruined, so he joined the LeT.”
Atir’s mother, Sara Begum, who appears to be strong enough to bear his youngest son’s death, says that she is proud of his son. “I am proud that my son achieved martyrdom. He sacrificed himself for the Kashmir cause,” says Sara Begum. Atir, according to his mother, was very pragmatic on Islamic beliefs and teachings. He would strictly adhere to Islamic teachings and orders. “He would offer prayers all the five times and would also offer Tahajud- a prayer offered before dawn,” Sara begum recalls about his son.
“Once, before he was arrested, he kissed the photo of Aafia Sidiqui on a news paper and expressed his wish to contribute to the Muslim community,” Atir’s mother recalls. “He wanted to work for the Kashmir cause. But police forced him to take up arms. He might have thought of contributing by any other means.”
Sara Begum, despite the tragedy she faced, expresses contentment over what her son has achieved. She, in fact, urges the Kashmiri people to realise the sacrifices martyrs have made for the Kashmir cause.
“Tell the voters to value the sacrifice of my son and many others who have embraced martyrdom for Kashmir. He died for the Kashmir cause and we all must take it forward”, she urges.
Atir’s mother also blames the police for instigating her son to turn into a militant. His detainment and the attitude of police towards him, says Sara begum, “made Atir a militant.”
“Atir was a very bright student. He secured 94% marks in his matriculation and 70% in 12th. He also used to recite Quran-i-Sharief every morning,” say’s Sara Begum.
Atir’s mother is also worried about the other students and boys who are languishing in jails on false charges of stone pelting. She presumes that these youth will also someday get motivated to pick up arms and fight for their rights if Police and Army continue to harass them and their family as they did to us and Atir. “Many youth are still languishing in jails without any reason. They are both physically and mentally tortured by the Police. The times aren’t so far when they too will get over these harassments and will try to find a solution to end these atrocities done to them and their family.”