From stones to guns, a ‘martyr’ at home

From stones to guns, a ‘martyr’ at home

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“Before joining armed militants, Shabir was continuously picked up by Army and SOG. He was fed up by the forces’ harassments"
“Before joining armed militants, Shabir was continuously picked up by Army and SOG. He was fed up of the forces’ harassment”

  By Adil Lateef | Photographs by Shahid Tantray | Palhallan, Kashmir


Among thousands of people including men, women, and children of all ages, the body of a local militant, lies on a bed and wrapped in a shroud. They (people) are desperate to have a glimpse of the Shabir Ahmad Shiekh, who is now a “martyr” for the people of his ancestral village.

The elders of the village announce that Shabir’s face would be shown to all people. “Sit down and stay calm, you will be shown Shabir’s face.”

Hailing from Palhallan village of North Kashmir, Shabir alias Tamim alias Shaka was in early thirties. He died in an encounter battling Indian troops and the police on Thursday evening in Krankshan colony of Sopore, 53 kilometres from Srinagar- Kashmir’s summer capital.

Shabir, who had recently joined the ranks of armed militants, was associated with the Pakistan based Pan Islamist Lashkar-e-Toiba group, which is among leading anti-India militant groups fighting in Kashmir.

Since early in the morning, people had gathered in large numbers, while many were still coming from nearby villages to attend his funeral. According to the locals he had strong sentiments for freedom since his childhood. “He was highly sentimental, freedom loving and a fearless boy,” said a man, who was waiting for the funeral.

Shabir’s body was kept in the Eidgah (an open ground, which is meant for prayers on the Muslim festival of Eid). The Eidgah, inside and outside was crowded by men, women, and children. The slogans in favour of Kashmir’s freedom, Islam and in praise of “martyr” and against India were reverberating in the village, whose entrance was blocked by the Indian paramilitary forces and police.

On November 1, 2012, Shabir left his home and didn’t come back again “It was first day of November, last year, when our son left us and till last night we had never met him,” recalls Abdur Rehman Shiekh, father of the slain militant. “Now we have his dead body,” he adds.

He alleged that Shabir was continuously harassed by the Indian Army and Special Operations Group (SOG) of the police. “Before joining armed militants, Shabir was continuously picked up by Army and SOG. He was fed up of the forces’ harassment,” added Sheikh.

The men, who were leading the procession, were followed by the women, who were shouting Pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. “Go India Go Back, Aiwa Aiwa Lashkar-e-Toiba (Here comes Laskar-e-Toiba),” they shouted.
The men, who were leading the procession, were followed by the women, who were shouting Pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. “Go India Go Back, Aiwa Aiwa Lashkar-e-Toiba (Here comes Laskar-e-Toiba),” they shouted.

As his funeral concluded, people lifted his body and started marching towards the local “Martyrs Graveyard,” which is barely half a kilometre from the Eidgah. The men, who were leading the procession, were followed by the women, who were shouting Pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. “Go India Go Back, Aiwa Aiwa Lashkar-e-Toiba (Here comes Laskar-e-Toiba),” they shouted.

“We are under tyranny. They harass our boys, who in retaliation pick up guns,” said a local elder, Muhammad Ismail. He claimed that Shabir became the target of forces ‘harassment.’

Shabir, before joining ranks of militants, was a stone thrower, who like hundreds of youth participated in the mass protests of 2008 and 2010 in which more than 200 people were killed in the firings of police and paramilitary forces, mostly among the dead were teenagers. Shabir was arrested in 2010 for his involvement in stone throwing. He was released after a span of ten months.

“Whenever protests took place since 2008, we collectively used to throw stones on police in the area,” whispers a group of youth present in the march.

This is not for the first time in Kashmir that a stone thrower has turned militant. In the past, many such cases came fore. One such case was of a Sopore teenager, Atir Ahmad Dar, 19, who initially was stone thrower and later became a militant following alleged harassments by police.

Atir was killed last year in an encounter with the troops and police.

Palhallan, the ancestral village of Shabir, is counted among the volatile areas of the Valley in terms of anti-India protests. More than half a dozen people have lost their lives since 2008 in this village.

Shabir was laid to rest in the local “Martyrs Graveyard”, where as many as ninety people are buried including local and three Pakistani militants.

“We are happy that he achieved martyrdom,” says Fehmeeda Akhtar, Shabir’s sister-in-law. But his mother was unable to speak because of the trauma of losing her youngest son.

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  • Sanjeev

    It is gratifying to read the inadvertent admission that stone-thrower and militant are interchangeable identities. The rest of us outside J&K already knew it. The argument is amusing: “Stone throwers turned militants because of Indian forces and militants turned stone throwers because of Indian forces”! Wow!

    I must say that I am also sort of happy that he has achieved martyrdom! :)

    May Allah bestow India with his blessings!

    • Jonah Ryder

      Sanjeev..This is not directed at you but to those that read your comments.

      You need not reply, having said that you surely may. Be it denouncing these retorts as spam or any other jest you try. It will just get repeated over & over & over & over…catch my drift.. :)

      If you are a regular on this site. You know these people like Sanjeev (& the like) as a craven sods that perpetuates the propaganda and agenda of India.

      Their purpose is to coerce and deceive the outsider who doesn’t follow the Kashmir conflict with vigor.

      Thus far they have abused, fueled hatful attacks both virtually and on ground.

      Please take their responses with a grain of salt & ask yourself why the voice of the Kashmir walla is repeatedly attacked by these hate mongers.

      I ask the reader to also consider the beauty of Kashmirwalla to allow them their voice as erroneous it may be. Regardless take this as your warning & please do your research on the Occupied region of Kashmir before coming to any conclusions.

      The voice of the voiceless must carry on, wether being attacked by the likes of mentioned or gaged by agencies on the ground.

      Truth must prevail, no matter how often and powerful the spin masters try to sabotage our attempts to putting it forth.

      Best Regards,

      A Humble supporter of the Kashmiri Cause.

  • Muhammad Faysal

    When Injustice becomes a Law, Resistance becomes a duty.

  • Sanjeev

    @ Muhammad Faysal

    When resistance becomes a blood-soaked, venomous Jihad, the Qafirs are left with no option but to give it back firmly, with or without AFSPA.

  • Moriarty

    Adios sucker terrorist friend……
    Rust in pieces :-)

  • Moriarty

    Adios sucker terrorist friend……
    Rust in pieces :-)

    One less terrorist for India to worry about. Sends the right message to all the other youth gathered at his funeral. If u pick up a gun against India, chances are you will come back home in a body bag :-)

  • Kashmiri

    The propaganda machine of Jihadis. Does anyone have sympathy for these Muslims. Mind you, they are not brainwashed, they are on a mission to rule the world and have an Islamic rule in the world. They use different excuses in different parts of the world but their mission and purpose is the same and that is to establish Islamic rule. Their religion stinks – they are such hypocrites.

  • Sniper

    For all u indians out here ranting about terrorism , if fighting against the occupation is terrorism , if fighting agaisnt the rapists and killers is terrorism .. Tham let history be witness we r all terrorists and india wud take more than bullets to kill us .. U fools think we r afraid of death .. We r those ppl who see paradise down the barrel of the guns .. We love death more than u cherish ur life .. Even if it takes us next 2000 yearx to fight occupation , we will fight it .. U have to face the generation which wud be more fearless than us and which wud be more dangerous than us .. Dnt THINK that by killing our young boys u wud be at peace .. Tourism , normalcy we lol wen ur state sponsered media projects kashmir as that becox we know wat we want .. So sit back n enjoy the show while munching some pop corn becoz this ride wud get bumpy and u wnt like the end result :)