KP Neighbours: Slain Hizb Militant Was ‘Nice Boy’

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SRINAGAR — A Kashmiri Pandit family in Sirnoo Pulwama is mourning the killing of Zahoor Thokar, an army man turned militant, who was killed along with two members of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in the village on weekend. Three Pandit families live next to the residence of Thokar. 

The army had raided the Pandit family six to seven times since Zahoor took up arms in June 2017 when he deserted the army from its headquarter in Baramulla of northern Kashmir. “He was a nice boy and has tended our kitchen garden many times. He would play cricket with our children. But we never saw him since he took up arms,” said a female member of the Pandit family. Around seven Pandit families still live in Sirnoo village. Many Pandit families living in Jammu and outside the state still own the land in this village. 

 “I was pained to see the funeral from the window of my house. His death came as a shock and we will live with his memories of playing in our lawn,” says another family member. “Militants never came to our house. We never saw Zahoor after he took up arms. I have played with him and can never forget him,” said another family member, a student in college. 

On whether they face any threat living as a minority in this volatile area of Pulwama in southern Kashmir, a family member responded, “This is not 1990’s. These boys (militants) are clear that their aim is not to harass anybody but to achieve something else.” 

Zahoor along with two other militants was killed in an encounter in the village on December 15.  Seven civilians were killed in firing by the army after protests broke out their.

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