Father of militant thanks govt for son’s return
Father of Anantnag’s star footballer Majid Khan, who made headlines recently by joining the Lashkar-eTayyaba and then returning home in less than a month, courtesy his mother’s tearful appeal to him in a viral video on social media, has profusely thanked the government of Jammu and Kashmir and the local and national media for treating his son’s case on humanitarian grounds and facilitating his surrender.
In an exclusive telephonic interview with The Sunday Guardian, Irshad Ahmed Khan, a government servant, said he was obliged to the media for covering the case compassionately. “Many thanks to all the people who have played a role in Majid’s return. I am grateful to the media and the newspapers for their fair reportage. I thank the government,” Irshad Khan told this reporter.
He said he had no prior knowledge of Majid’s decision to join the LeT. “When we heard that he had joined the militant ranks, we were devastated. We are very happy that he decided to surrender. I immediately contacted the authorities to allow me to meet him,” Irshad Khan said. “Before that,” he detailed, “I had lodged an FIR in the police station. The police said they will try to bring him back, and they asked me to make efforts from my end also.” When asked what was discussed between the father and son when he went to meet Majid, Irshad Khan said he had only five minutes’ conversation with the 20-year-old. “He is in detention. I met him a couple of days ago. I did not get time to find out how he was led into joining the militant ranks,” Irshad Khan told this newspaper. Responding to this reporter’s query on what might have pushed Majid into militancy, the father said he suspected some friends might have influenced his son, although their family has always focused on the education of their children and had no past record of being detained or participating in any kind of protests. “He is young and gullible. I don’t know what incited him. We are suspecting that his friends might have played a role and got him in touch with LeT’s overground workers,” he explained.
This reporter had gone to Majid’s house in Anantnag last week, when he was still on the run, but his family was not traceable. A close relative of the family had told this reporter at the time, “All of us are shocked by his decision. He was very polite and was never involved in any stonepelting or any other such incidents.” On recurring incidents of stone pelting in South Kashmir, Irshad Khan said: “What can I say? This is the handiwork of the (separatist) leaders. Majid never showed any signs of simmering anger in him.” He said he hoped that his son would be freed soon. “The police did a press conference and said that they have not got any case against Majid as yet. We are looking forward to his speedy release,” Irshad Khan said. Majid, a student of BA Honours in Commerce at Degree College, Anantnag, had declared on Facebook on 29 October that he had joined the militant ranks, brandishing an AK-47 rifle. The Centre has told the Mehbooba Mufti led PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir, of which the BJP is a part, that it has no immediate plans to talk to the separatists in the valley or with Pakistan. Sources told The Sunday Guardian that the Centre has further apprised the state government that the peace-building process would be an internal exercise that would focus on withdrawal of criminal complaints against teenagers, generating employment for the youth, and the release of youths who have been incarcerated for stone pelting or other forms of protests.
Sources said that the Centre finalised this strategy, aimed at ending alienation, after receiving relevant inputs from the intelligence agencies. To wean away the youths from anti-state protests, the Centre has directed all recruiting agencies in J&K to fill up vacant posts within three months, a senior civil servant in the state government revealed to this newspaper.
“We have already completed the process of filling up 6,000 posts and by the end of December we expect to complete the process for 5,000 more posts,” the official quoted said. The state government is also screening the cases of first time offenders in stone-pelting incidents from 2015 till the third week of November 2017. The screening committees have been told to submit their recommendations within 10 days. However, it is not certain whether the government would act on the recommendations of the committee and withdraw cases against such offenders whom the committee says can be relieved. The Union Home Ministry has decided to focus on the state police and address their problems. Relief provided to J&K police personnel has been raised to Rs 10 lakh, at par with CRPF jawans. The compensation for SPOs, who are on the forefront in anti-militancy operations, has been raised to Rs 5lakh.