Shopian district in Southern Kashmir that witnessed most civilian and militant killing this year persists to be a hot bed for militants particularly for those who belong to Hizbul Mujahideen.
Though, Government forces killed most of the militants including top commanders like Saddam Padder, Aadil Nazir, Bilal Mohand, Aetimad Malik during encounters in the area in current year but militant sentiment among common youth fails to die down and new youth continue to join Militant Ranks.
The desire to become militants prevails in most of youths in this southern district and photographs of two youths with guns have gone viral over social networking sites.
Basharat Ahmad Nengroo son of Abdul Rashid Nengroo resident of and Bilal Ahmad Bhat son of Habibullah Bhat resident of Keegam village of shopian district have joined Hizbul Mujahideen.
As per the photographs they have been given the code names of Umer bhai and Hamzah bhai respectively.
As per family sources both went missing on 31st of July evening and according their missing report was lodged in concerned police stations.
“We all got shocked after our relative sent us a photograph of Bilal with gun. We never expected this step from him,” Sister of Bilal, Kousar Jan told The Kashmiriyat.
Bilal was sole bread earner to his family, she said, adding “We request the organisation with whom he is to send him back as our parents often remain ill most of the time.”
“Our mother is suffering from diabetes and blood pressure related issues while as our father has stomach related issues,” she said while speaking to The Kashmiriyat.
Bilal a 12th drop out and auto driver by profession left behind parents, elder married brother and elder unmarried sister.
Basharat who belongs to a well off family was an electrician by profession and was known in locality for his sober nature, as per one of his friend Basit Ahmed.
He has left behind parents and two brothers.
In shopian , the anger among the locals is escalating as the civilian and Militant casaulaities continue to escalate with every passing day.
As per stats available to The Kashmiriyat, Over one dozen civilians of the district mostly youth have been killed in teargas shelling and firing by government forces in current year.
On 27 January, two civilians namely Javaid Ahmed and Suhail Ahmed were killed by government forces when army fired on a group of protesters.
Later one more among the injured namely Rayees Ahmed a 19 year old youth also succumbed to his injuries at skims on January 31.
On March 04, four civilians were killed by army under uncertain circumstances. Army called them over ground workers however it fails to hold ground as this claim was refuted by their families as well as friends and locals.
They were identified as Suhail khalil of Pinjura, Mohammad Shahid khan of Malik gund, Shahnawaz wagay of Langandoora Trenz and Gowhar Ahmed lone of Moolu Chitragam.
Two local militants belonging to shopian district were also killed in the incident.
On Ist April, Mushtaq Ahmed thoker son of Gh Mohammad thoker resident of sugan was killed at encounter site by government forces where seven local militants all from shopian distrct were Killed.
On same day, Mohammad Iqbal bhat son of Manzoor Ahmed bhat resident of Khasipora shopian was killed near encounter site kachdoora, where two more civilians of Kulgam dist and five local militants( Four from shopian) were also killed.
On 11 April a minor namely Fazil alahi of Melhoora shopian was killed near encounter site Khudwani along with 3 other civilians of Kulgam district.
On May 02, Omar Ahad son of Ab Ahad kumar resident of Pinjura shopian was killed during clashes at Turkwangam area of shopian district however militants managed to escape.
On May 06, six civilians(one from shopian district) and five militants( 3 from shopian) including Sadam padder were killed in Badigam area of shopian district.
On 11 July, 2 militants from shopian district were killed in an encounter at kundulan village.
On 03 August, 5 militants( 4 from shopian) were killed in an encounter at kiloora area of shopian district while as during clashes at funeral of one slain militant a civilian namely Bilal Ahmad khan of Pujoo kral check village was killed.
Despite frequent encounters new youth continue to join ranks and at present as per official figures around 30 local militants are active in district.
Author: Jahangeer Ganie
Jahangeer Ganie is the chief correspondent of The Kashmiriyat for District Pulwama in South Kashmir