Srinagar, June 19: During the past one year, four youths joined up militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba in Hajin, which had been, not so long ago, a stronghold of government-sponsored Ikhwan militia.
Abdul Qayoom Parrey of Parrey Mohalla, who was killed in 2005, was the last militant from the town to have been active after the Ikhwan reign ebbed.
Till 12 May 2017, no one in the town picked up arms again. That day, two local youths, Abid Hamid Mir and Nasrullah joined up LeT. Both were killed in two separate gunfights. Massive turnout was witnessed at their funerals and their killing sparked anti-government protests. They are now credited with reviving militancy in the area and washing its Ikhwan taint off.
Mohammad Saleem Parray and Nisar Ahmad Dar are currently active militants.
Nisar 24, who hails from Wahab Parray Mohalla of Hajin town, had been booked on charges of stone throwing and organising street protests in as many as 14 FIRs. He had twice been booked under Public Safety Act, which enables the government to imprison any person for up to six months without a trial. For most part of 2016, he was in jail and had, therefore, given up studies.
His family members said he was forced to pick up gun. They called government charges against him “frivolous”. Local residents said he was only helping the needy.
“It was in 2014 when forces started raiding our house,” said his father, Ghulam Rasool Dar, “They were looking for Nisar and when they couldn’t find him they tore up a handmade carpet we had woven for months.”
“They hit me in the head repeatedly. I was bedridden for months,” Dar said.
In 2017, to escape police harassment and detention, Nisar went to Srinagar where he extracted sand, near Rajbagh. Police raided his place in Rajbagh and he was put behind the bars.
“When we asked the police why they arrested him they said he is disturbing peace in the area. That is why he picked up gun,” Dar said.
“We pleaded with the police to counsel him rather than pushing him to the wall. They ruined his career and also forced him to become a militant,” he said.
The harassment of the family, Dar said, did not stop with Nisar joining militancy.
Nisar’s younger brother Aadil said the male members are frequently called to the police station for questioning.
“A few days ago police asked us to given phone details of all family members, relatives and neighbors,” he said.