Kashmir

Facing ‘harassment’, now Lolab’s Bilal joins ‘militancy’

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Srinagar: A youth who had gone missing fifteen days back has reportedly joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit as his picture posing with an AK 47 rifle has gone viral on social media.

Official sources told GNS that the youth, Bilal Ahmad Shah, 24, son of late Shams-ud-Din, of Shartmuqam village of Lolab in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, had left home on March 1 towards Parimpora Fruit Mandi Srinagar, where he works.

Today, a picture of him wielding the rifle was uploaded on Facebook announcing that he had joined Hizb on March 2.

Police have taken cognizance of the matter and are investigating the case.

“We are trying to ascertain how he joined the militant group,” a police officer told GNS.

Bilal’s uncle Ghulam Rasool Shah told news agency GNS that his nephew was working at Srinagar Fruit Mandi. “We also heard that he (Bilal) has uploaded a gun-wielding picture and has joined militant ranks,” he said.

Shah alleged Bilal was harassed and tortured by Task Force throughout the month of Ramadhan in 2008.

“In 2016, when the whole valley was on the boil, clashes and stone pelting were the order of the day. In our Shartmuqam village, only Bilal was picked up by police and he was put behind bars,” he said.

Shah said FIR was also registered against Bilal and whenever any incident happened in Shartmuqam or its adjoining areas, Bilal was “targeted”.

“Since then, he was not feeling safe at home. He was looking scared especially during nights. I believe he took this step due to continuous harassment by forces,” he added.

Shah said Bilal was detained for a month in 2008.

“After he was released, we found he was brutally tortured. Then it took two months for him to recover from injuries. He was not satisfied with life. He had studied at a Yateem Trust (orphanage) in Srinagar and later started working at Fruit Mandi, Parimpora, Srinagar.”

“If the news about his joining of militancy and uploading of the picture on social media is true, then I appeal him to come back. His only (single) brother is waiting at home,” Bilal’s uncle said.

Militant Manaan Wani, a Ph.D. scholar had announced his joining in similar fashion on January 5 this year.

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