AnantnagWhen the bullet-riddled body of Yawar Nisar was brought to his home in Sherpora locality of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a commotion broke out. Young mourners jostled to touch the ‘martyr’ while elders, on the wrong side of age, tried to keep them at bay. In a corner, nearly two dozen women wailed endlessly; some pulled their hair or beat their chests.
On 18 July evening, Yawar left home for the last time. From that evening onwards, Nisar Sheergujri, Yawar’s father who works as a storekeeper in the civil supplies department started searching for his son. It was a race against the time which he lost on Thursday evening.
“Whenever I pulled a bag of rice for the consumers in these two weeks, Yawar’s face would suddenly come up in front of my eyes,” Nisar said, as people prepared for the last journey of the 22-year-old on Friday.
“I would go to the town, search him in the market, glance at passing vehicles, visit the bus stand and come home like a gambler who has lost everything,” he said.
Yawar studied till 12th class. He was active on social media and friends who this correspondent spoke with, described him as a “pious and noble soul” of the locality. “I had only two sons, one is gone and I will live for the other one. But Yawar’s passing has dug a hole in my heart which will remain there forever,” Nisar said.
He said boys are being harassed day in and day out by the police for participating in stone pelting.
“Their lives become miserable after that. My son’s too had become miserable. People who can afford, bribe the police and those who cant are left at the mercy of God. That is why some of these children take guns in their hands. This has to stop. Someone has to stop this death and destruction,” Nisar said.
Although Yawar was previously suspected of involvement in some cases, no one in his family knew he was going to join militancy. His friends, though, had some idea. Apart from noticing changes in his personality, Yawar was turning increasingly religious after spending time in police custody on multiple occasions, charged with being a chronic stone pelter.
His joining militancy follows an eerily similar pattern of part harassment by forces and part influence of religion which has delivered dozens of young boys into the hands of the insurgency. Before joining militancy, Yawar was booked under various cases by Jammu and Kashmir Police and subsequently faced alleged harassment at the hands of the forces.
Yawar was the first militant from the main town of Anantnag to have joined militancy after the new age militancy gripped the Kashmir valley. In fact, he was the first militant from Anantnag since 2005, but he only survived for 16 days.
On Thursday evening, a joint team of forces launched a cordon and search operation in Herpora Kanelwan in Dochnipora belt of Bijbehara area after receiving information about the presence of three militants in the locality. The militants were hiding in one of the houses and when the troops closed in, they came out and fired on the search party, resulting in injuries to a soldier.
While two militants managed to flee through orchards, one of them, Yawar, was injured. Witnesses saw him scaling a wall around one of the houses and rushing to take shelter but all he could find was a dingy washroom located in the compound of the house.
“He was hit in the shoulder. As the forces intensified searches in the area, they zeroed in on the washroom where Yawar had locked himself from inside. He was not carrying any weapon,” a resident of Kanelwan said on the condition of anonymity.
Police, however, rebutted the claim, saying that an SLR, perhaps snatched from one of the policemen during the events of post-Burhan violence in Kashmir, was recovered from his possession.
When the dust settled in Kanelwan, more than a hundred bullets had pockmarked the wooden gate of the washroom where the fortnight-old militant tried to hide. Even in his death, Yawar acted like a child playing hide and seek who locks himself in a room, and prays, pretends, that his secret place will never be discovered.
As the rain of bullets stopped and the door of the washroom was opened by wary army men, Yawar was lying inside, motionless, in a prostrated state; his face was disfigured and his body was dripping blood.
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