The death of a 14-year-old boy in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district has prompted anger against Pakistani terrorists in the Valley, with people accusing them of not sparing children to further their agenda of the neighbouring country at the cost of innocent civilians.
The boy, Faisal Gulzar Ganai, was along with two other terrorists of Al-Badr organisation, was trapped on Saturday evening and killed in an overnight encounter with a joint party of Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Army and the CRPF in the orchards of Reban Bandpawa of Shopian.
An AK-56 rifle, two pistols and other ‘incriminating’ materials were recovered from the encounter site, police said in a press release.
Terrorists caused death of only boy of the family
Son of a farmer and vehicle dealer from a village in Shopian, the Class 10 student was the only brother of four sisters. He was a laborious student and used to be with his books most of the time, his family said.
“He used to be with his books. When out, he would be playing cricket. He left home last week and we thought he was playing cricket with his friends. When he did not return till evening we called his phone which was switched off,” a report by Hindustan Times quoted his grandfather, in his 80s, as saying.
Faisal’s grandfather said the family received a call from the boy on Saturday. “He said he was trapped in an encounter. He said we should forgive him. I told him to raise his hands and come out to surrender. He said he would think about it and hang up the call,” he said.
Terrorists didn’t let the boy surrender
In a statement, Jammu and Kashmir Police said it made sincere efforts to take the surrender of the boy and made repeated attempts to persuade him but to no avail. The police even took the family members of the boy to the encounter site to make an appeal to them to surrender but other terrorist didn’t allow him to come out.
After killing one of the three terrorists in the encounter, police suspended the operations to facilitate the boy’s surrender.
Praising the security forces for their efforts to save the boy’s life, his grandfather said, “The security forces suspended the operation for the night. We all went to the site and made appeals on the public address system but there was no response.”
He further said, “In the morning he came out with his other colleague who was firing, then they were killed”.
Faisal’s death caused anger against terrorist organisations, whom they accused of misusing the young generation of the Valley to further their sinister agenda.
“Smallest coffins are the heaviest. Children die like children. How can a child be killed? Or, recruited?,” author Gowhar Geelani said on Twitter.
What is Al-Badr?
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) backed Al-Badr, the terrorist organisation that recruited the minor boy in its ranks, was formed in 1998 with the goal of strengthening what terrorists call ‘Kashmiri freedom struggle’ and to ‘liberate’ Jammu and Kashmir and merge it with Pakistan.
Before 1998, it was operating under the banner of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and started as an independent organisation after being encouraged by ISI as part of its revised strategy.
It was proscribed by the Government of India in 2002 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.