Sopore: The local militant among the two killed in a gunfight with the SOG near Sempora, Pampore, on Tuesday was identified as Shakir Showkat Bhat of Nowpora, Sopore.
Shakir was a BSC 3rd year student in Degree College Sopore, district Baramulla. He was one of three sons of Showkat Ahmad Bhat, a fruit trader. Shakir was first arrested on April 7, 2013, by the police in Bahrampora, Sopore, with a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Qari Naveed alias Fahadullah, of Pakistan.
“We received a call from Sopore police station that they have arrested our son, Shakir, and that he is a militant. He was in jail for almost eight months, when he was released on bail we tried to advise him to not take part in militancy, and he agreed. But after he was released he became a soft target of the government forces.
He was even arrested when there was an anti-Israel protest by the students of Degree College Sopore. He was behind bars for two weeks then was again arrested some months ago when the local shrine partially burnt down. The police said he had burnt it. He was often called by the forces to their camps,” Showkat Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
In fact, the family accuses government forces of harassing their son and pushing him to join militant ranks.
Shakir, the family says, was a pious boy who used to pray five times a day. He also used to teach the Quran to children in the local Masjid. On October 23, Shakir left home in morning and never came back. His father went looking for him but a friend of Shakir told him he (Shakir) had sent a text saying he was never coming back and requested that no one should file a missing person report.
“But we lodged a missing report for our safety so that the forces will not harass us,” his father said. Shakir’s mother, on her part, told Kashmir Reader, “I promised my son that I will not cry on his funeral, because he is a martyr and a martyr never dies. I am proud to be Shakir’s mother. We all are proud of him”.
One of his close friends told Kashmir reader that Shakir kept everything to himself and never spoke of his pro-freedom activities. “I am proud to be his close friend,” he added.
Meanwhile, thousands of people took part in Shakir’s funeral procession on Wednesday. People from Nowpora and adjacent localities, including Sopore town, Seelu, Tarzoo, Mazbugh and Achabal rushed to the house of the bereaved family. Mourners, including women, amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, offered funeral prayers in Nowpora. Soon after the funeral was over, groups of youths took to the streets and pelted stones on vehicles in Sopore town.
A complete shutdown was also observed in the town to mourn the death of the militant. All shops and business establishments remained shut.