“Before Joining Militancy, He returned 60 Rupees, he owed to His Grandfather-” Rayees Laid to Rest in Pulwama

March 26

On a Sunny day in June in the year 2016, Shahbaz Shafi joined a new generation of militants educated and influenced by the teachings of Islam, in the graveyards of Pulwama in south Kashmir.
His family has no regrets and feels proud of his martyrdom.

Popularly known as Rayees Kaczroo, a resident of Bellow area of Rajpora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama, Shahbaz had left home for Friday prayers and never returned.

His father is a shopkeeper and said that Shahbaz was committed to his ideology even at a young age and knew his goal very well.

“In the evenings he used to sit with me and discuss a host of issues – political, social, religious, and environmental,” recalled the father.

He said his son would often talk of the repression faced by Muslim Ummah in general and Kashmiris in particular. Before joining rebel ranks, Shahbaz worked as an over-ground worker to provide logistical support to militants.

“When I noticed his links with militants, I tried to convince him to pursue his career and take a decision about joining the rebels later. However, he had already chosen his path,” said his father who is a Jama’at member.

A day before formally joining Hizb ranks, Shahbaz had a long conversation with his ailing grandfather and sought forgiveness from him if he had ever hurt him.

“On that evening, Shahbaz returned sixty rupees to his grandfather which he owed him from a few days before. Shahbaz also sought forgiveness from his grandfather and sought advice from him while discussing what it means to be truthful, honest and righteous,” Shafi Wani said.

Shahbaz’s friends and neighbours remember him as a good-natured and pious person.

“He was very humble, honest and pious. He would never look into the eyes of anyone while talking. He was very soft spoken and down to earth, like his father,” said one of his neighbours.

Six months after Shahbaz left home, his close friend Liyaqat Ahmed, resident of the same village and a senior to him in school, also joined him — becoming the sixth militant from Rajpora that year.

At the funeral of Shahbaz in Bellow, Pulwama, thousands of people from south Kashmir areas and also from Budgam villages came to offer him funeral prayers.

At least four rounds of funerals prayers were held before Shahbaz was laid to rest. His father addressed the mourners and appealed to them to safeguard the sacrifices of martyrs.

A group of militants appeared at the house of Shafi Wani to have a last glimpse of their comrade. They offered a gun salute to Shahbaz and raised pro-freedom, pro-Islam and pro-Pakistan slogans.