Six days ago, when a young man from Anantnag town announced on Facebook that he was joining the militant ranks, it left many in south Kashmir stunned. Because they all recognised the youth carrying an AK 47 — he was Majid Arshid Khan, a promising goalkeeper who, when he was not playing for the local football team, used to work for a well-known charity that provides women and child care, and medical support.
Police said Majid made contact with overground militant workers and was now with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. On Thursday, a day after he showed up with an AK-47 at the funeral of a militant killed in an encounter in Khund, his family, friends and police urged him to return.
Muneer Ahmad Khan, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, said: “He (Majid) has become a militant and our endeavour will be that he comes back. Even his family members are trying to get him back. We will second the efforts of the family. Not only Majid, all other youth who have joined militancy, police will do everything to bring them back and rehabilitate. It is our sincere endeavour that these misguided youth come back and join the mainstream.”
Majid’s friends say that the second-year commerce student — he studied at the Degree College in Anantnag — changed after Yawar Nissar, his closest friend, was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir in the first week of August. ‘’He attended the funeral of his friend and wept as they laid the body to rest. After that, he was a changed person,’’ a friend said.
Ever since he announced he was picking up arms, his friends have been making frantic appeals via social media, urging him to return home for the sake of his parents. A video of Majid’s mother Asyia Khan had gone viral. In the video, she is crying, asking her son to return.
A friend, writing on his Facebook timeline, said: “Please come back Majid Soba… We love you… Your parents, friends and relatives are waiting for you. We will support you… Please come back.’’ According to police records, 170 militants, including 70 local militants, have been killed this year in different gunbattles in the Valley.