Srinagar: On 28 June, Faisal Ahmad Baba, a 23-year-old resident of Sheikh Hara area of Pulwama district, who was a student of final year, pursuing Bachelor in Arts from Government Degree College Pulwama, left his home to visit his maternal aunt in Marvel area of Pampora. From there, he told his family that he might go to Ladakh with his friends.
However, when his family tried contacting him the next day, he rang blank. “We contacted him several times. But, his phone was switched off,” said Omair Ahmad, Mr. Baba’s younger brother. “We thought he might be with his friends. We contacted them too, but they had no idea of his whereabouts.”
Talking to The Kashmir Walla, the younger brother further added that Mr. Baba’s sudden disappearance raised many questions among family members, but they waited for one more day; it never turned positive.
Mr. Baba could not be contacted, but yesterday evening, he was seen in a photograph with a gun in his hand, claiming to have joined the militant ranks in affiliation with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Though, all the family members, including his relatives and friends, were shocked and didn’t buy the claims.
His younger brother remembers that photo of him, that he claims, was captured in Nishat garden in Srinagar last year, “It was on his Facebook account,” he said. “We thought someone downloaded the picture and is misusing it to create trouble for him.”
The news became more shocking for the family because of, what Mr. Ahmed now believes, the family perceived Mr. Baba as not the one who would pick guns. “His impression among family members was never so,” said Mr. Ahmed. “He had never taken part in any unlawful activity and never came across as one who would join militancy.”
Though soon after the post, the family approached to the nearest police station of their residence, Rajpora, Pulwama to file a missing report. “Even by then, we thought that this is not true,” said Mr. Ahmed. “In fact, another photograph that went viral on social media seemed edited. Police officers also told us the same thing.”
As per him, police officials have assured the family members that if Mr. Baba will come back, he will not be treated as guilty. Now, the family hopes for their son to return.
But, back at his home, his father Mushtaq Ahmad Baba, 45, a farmer by profession is in deep shock after he came to know about his son. “He (Mr. Baba) was heading the family and used to manage all the operations at home,” said Mr. Ahmed, and in the backdrop of women wailing, he continued in a cracking voice, “We have no one other than him.”
“We appeal to everyone to help us in locating him,” Mr. Ahmed said citing the poor circumstances at their home. “We have already lost our mother, we cannot bear his separation now.”