Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - FRONT PAGE - Abhishek Saha

SRINAGAR: A Kash­miri sol­dier has joined Hizbul Mu­jahideen (HM), army of­fi­cials in Delhi con­firmed on Mon­day af­ter a pho­to­graph of Idrees Sul­tan Mir bran­dish­ing an as­sault ri­fle sur­faced on so­cial me­dia.

It is com­mon for young men in the Val­ley to an­nounce their al­le­giance to mil­i­tant out­fits through so­cial me­dia by re­leas­ing pic­tures with weapons and in fa­tigues.

The 23-year-old, who joined the army three years ago, was on leave since April 7 and went miss­ing on April 13-14, the army of­fi­cials said. Mir was posted in Bihar’s Danapur.

“De­tails are be­ing as­cer­tained,” said Col Ra­jesh Kalia, a Srinagar-based de­fence spokesper­son.

The text slapped on the photo of Mir, also known as Chota Abrar, says he joined the home-grown mil­i­tant out­fit on April 15.

It goes on to say Mir, a na­tive of Wachi in Shopian in south Kash­mir, was with the army’s Jammu and Kash­mir Light In­fantry unit and was posted in Bihar.

A se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer in Shopian con­firmed that Mir had been miss­ing for a few days. “We are as­cer­tain­ing the de­tails of the case,” the of­fi­cer said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The fam­ily had in­formed po­lice a few days ago that their son was miss­ing, he added.

In July last, a Kash­miri sol­dier, Za­hoor Ah­mad Thokar, de­serted his unit, took away his ser­vice ri­fle and joined the Hizbul, which is ac­tive in south Kash­mir and has lo­cal youth in its ranks.

Thokar, a na­tive of south Kash­mir’s Pul­wama district, was posted in Bara­mul­lah in north Kash­mir.

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