“BY GULZAR BHAT”
Padarpora (Shopian), Nov 22 2018: The narrow dirt track leading to Nazir Ahmad Chopan’s house was decorated with pictures of his slain rebel son printed on banners hanging across all the way.
“These are all pictures of my Abid,” Chopan said to a mourner, gesturing towards a banner suspending from a window of his home, referring to his militant son who along with his three associates was killed on Tuesday during a six-hour long firefight with government forces.
On Wednesday, mourners thronged Chopan’s house where women filled the carpeted rooms and men assembled in solidarity with the family in a big bright red and yellow tent erected in the courtyard.
Chopan’s strongly-built son, 20-years old Abid Nazir Chopan was killed in Nadigam village, not far from his home.
Abid had won himself numerous laurels as a student. He passed his 12th grade exams with flying colours, and in 2016 cleared the coveted National Defence Academy examination in the very first attempt but did not join.
The same year, Abid qualified the prestigious Common Entrance Test conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Examinations and was allotted a seat at Government Medical College Jammu for pursuing MBBS.
Again he did not enrol himself with the college as, according to his family, he had a penchant for technology.
A few months later, Abid joined a prestigious engineering college in Jalandhar in neighbouring Punjab state where he won many awards for his performance.
“He was always a very good student and was very quick at uptake,” said his elder brother, Imran.
In March, when Abid was in his fourth semester, he visited home following the death of one his close relatives. Two weeks later, he suddenly vanished from his village.
Before his family could figure out anything, Abid’s photograph wielding an assault rifle surfaced on social media.
“We could not understand anything. He had not showed an inclination or hinted at singing up for any militant group,” said Imran.
Around 5 am on Tuesday, Chopan woke up to the continuous ringing of his mobile phone. As he took the call it was the voice of his militant son.
“He informed me about the encounter and his very near end of life,” said Chopan, adding his son also sought an apology in case his picking up arms troubled him. The boy-turned armed rebel spoke to his mother and brother too before hanging up.
A few hours later, the bullet perforated body of the 20-year-old reached his home.
“He was really a brilliant student,” Chopan said, showing off a trophy his son had been awarded for excellence at the engineering college.