GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
»
4-min read

Kashmiri Footballer Majid Khan Trades Boots For Guns, Shocked Valley Pleads for Return

His emotional parents have launched frantic appeals and a rage of responses has been witnessed on social networking sites, with many advising him to spurn violence and reunite with his family.

Mufti Islah | CNN-News18

Updated:November 16, 2017, 11:47 PM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Kashmiri Footballer Majid Khan Trades Boots For Guns, Shocked Valley Pleads for Return
The lone son of a government employee and a homemaker, Majid was also a volunteer at a charity organisation. (Photo: Mufti Islah/CNN-News18)
Anantnag: Three days ago, the photo of a six-foot tall man holding an AK rifle went viral on social media. It announced Majid Irshad Khan's entry into Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit that has fronted several attacks on security forces in Kashmir this year.

Nicknamed Pollock for his resemblance with the famous South African cricketer, 20-year-old Majid had quietly left home last week in Anantnag to join the terror group. Within hours, his picture with an assault rifle was shared by hundreds.

He was a meritorious student and a promising footballer but his first love was always football. The lone son of a government employee and a homemaker, he was also a volunteer at a charity organisation, something that made him popular in his locality

So when it became clear that Majid had joined militant ranks, it left his family and friends in a state of deep shock, grief and disbelief.

Emotional Appeal

His emotional parents have launched frantic appeals and a rage of responses has been witnessed on social networking sites, with many advising him to spurn violence and reunite with his family.

Majid’s father Irshad Khan told News18 at his Anantnag residence that he feared for his son's life and would want him to come back for his mother.

“Look, she is heartbroken. She can't cope with this tragedy. I am 59 and getting old. I don't have the courage to see anything bad happening to him. All I can do is to pray to Allah to return him to us,” said Khan.

The mother, Ayesha, kept repeating that she will die if he did not come back. “Bring him back please. I want him to resume studies and play football,” she cried.

Majid's friends were seen in a dazed state as his teary-eyed parents urged reporters to convince police and government to spare his life in case his shelter house is raided or he is trapped in an encounter situation.

“Top cops have promised me he would not be harmed provided he does not fire at them during encounter,” said Khan.

Both JKP DG S P Vaid and IGP Kashmir Muneer Khan have said they would want Majid to abjure militancy and lead a normal life.

majid-2
Majid was nicknamed Pollock by his friends for his resemblance to the South African cricketer. (Photo: Mufti Islah/CNN-News18)

Turning Point

Majid's life, his friends recall, changed soon after August 3, 2017, when security forces shot his childhood friend-turned-militant in an encounter.

That day forces rounded off an Anantnag village where three militants were hiding. Seeing the forces come in, militants fired indiscriminately allowing two to escape while a third one was shot after being cornered.

When the blood-drenched body of a 22-year-old Yawar Nisar reached his home in Anantnag, it stunned everyone. Majid was numb for days.

Yawar had survived for 16 days after picking up a gun. Among many of his mourners, Majid was seen crying bitterly. He kept on embracing and kissing Yawar's face and forehead. He carried the coffin on his shoulder and left only after the body was sealed in a grave.

Majid’s friends believe Yawar's killing was the turning point and it changed the champion footballer's perception about life.

Warnings Ignored?

His Facebook posts and writings started reflecting that too. He wrote about “azadi and injustices meted out to Kashmiris”. He also started to take part in street protests like the other youths in the area.

Several of his posts, mostly in Urdu, talked about “sacrifices laid by Yawar and other militants fighting for the just cause of freedom.”

“Do not think that those killed in the way of Allah are dead. Rather they are alive and receiving sustenance before their Lord,” he wrote on Facebook.

One of his latest posts in Urdu and its rough translation hinted about what he seems to have set out for. “Jihad is my mission, shahadat is my dream…Missing you Abu Talha.''

But no one among his family, friends or colleagues at the NGO suspected him to take the extreme step of joining militancy, least of them his parents.

“Comeback Majid,” Ayesha shouted. “Comeback to your mother please.”

Many on social media echoed her. “Your mom wants you. Be with your mom and dad. This is a bigger jihad,” a facebook comment read.

Showing Restraint

On Thursday, IGP Kashmir Khan said he wants boys like Majid to spurn violence and be with their families.

Khan's subordinates produced two militants before the media, saying police apprehended them when they did not fire at them during the Kulgam encounter even when an army jawan was killed. Among those arrested was Shamsul Viqar, whose story is identical to that of Majid. He is also the lone son of his parents, a sportsman and a good student.

Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti asked police and forces to exhibit restraint and ensure boys, who have picked up a gun are spared rather than killed. She even announced that security forces who effect their arrest would be rewarded double the sum than the kills.

Also Watch

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
Read full article