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Azad joined militant ranks in 2016, says family

Azad joined militant ranks in 2016, says family
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Was labeled as an 'informer', but he proved the allegations wrong

Anantnag: Azad Ahmad Malik, an accused in Editor-in Chief of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari’s killing was one among the six slain militants killed in Bijbehara encounter that raged between forces and militants on Friday morning here.
Malik alias Dada, son of Nazir Ahmad Malik of Arwani Bijbehara was labeled as Army informer before he joined militant ranks in ending 2016.
On 10 December 2016, Majid Zargar, a top LeT militant along with his associate was killed in a 42-hour-long gunfight in Hassanpora village, which is very close to Arwani and after this encounter, some locals claimed that Azad tipped of forces about the presence of militants in Hassanpora, said Azad’s relative.
However, before Zargar’s killing, Azad was arrested by forces several times as according to them he was working as an OGW and was beaten several times severely by forces.
After Hassanpora encounter, Azad was caught between devil and a deep sea as he was questioned by both militants as well as forces, added the relative.
At last, Azad decided to join militant ranks to prove the allegations leveled against him as wrong, he said, adding that Azad left home in ending 2016 despite the fact that he was married before six months only.
However, he was forced to take to arms as he was facing pressure from both sides, he added.
His wife gave birth to a son after three months of his joining the militant ranks but she returned to her maternal home soon after Azad’s joining the militant, said a local from Arwani.
Belonging to a middle class family, Azad was adopted by his uncle as he had no child of his own. Azad’s elder brother Basharat was also a militant who was killed in an encounter, added the relative.
Azad is survived by three brothers, one sister, parents besides his wife and son.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in his funeral prayers of following which he was laid to rest.
At least nine funeral prayers were held for the slain militant today.
As per eyewitnesses, a group of militants also appeared at his funeral and offered gun salute to their senior colleague.
Firdous Ahmad Mir, one among the six slain militants killed in Friday’s encounter at Bijbehara was working as a Mason to earn the livelihood prior to his joining the militant ranks.
Firdous, son of Mohammad Yousuf Mir of Machpuna village of Pulwama district was working as Mason at Koil Airport, his family said, adding that he left home on May 17 2017 and since then he called them twice during encounters when he was trapped at Thamun and Wagaum in Pulwama town but at both places he managed to escape.
“Today, we neither received any call nor a message from him. However, we came to know about his death on Friday afternoon after police called us to identify him,” he said.
Firdous alias Abu Hanzla, LeT district commander Pulwama, belonging to a poor family is survived by one brother and three sisters besides his parents.
Meanwhile, five rounds of funeral prayers were held so far and according to locals is expected to be laid to rest on Saturday morning.
The third commander, Malik Shahid Bashir, who was one among the six slain militants killed in Bijbehara on Friday was arrested several times before he joined the militant ranks in the year 2017.
Shahid, son of Bashir Ahmed Malik of Kawen Pulwama according to his family was arrested several times by government forces for being dubbed as Over Ground Worker (OGW), one of his relatives said.
The slain militant, who has left his education midway after completing his class 12th belonged to a middle class family.
“As he was frequently being arrested and harassed, Shahid found no other option but to join the militant ranks in 2017 and returned only dead,” his relative said.
According to his family, Shahid’s father was also a militant who was arrested later.
Shahid has two brothers. Elder one is working in police department while as the younger one is a B.A student.
Meanwhile, Shahid was laid to rest in his native village after five rounds of funeral prayers.
As per eyewitnesses, thousands of people including men, women and children participated in his funeral prayers.

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