Srinagar: At 20, Ishaq Ahmad Parray is perhaps one of the youngest militants, who along with two other Hizbul Mujahideen militants got killed on Thursday after a nightlong encounter with the security forces at Dadsara village of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The gunfight had started on Wednesday evening.
Parray is another example of a disturbing trend where militant organisations like the Hizbul Mujahideen have succeeded in catching them young. The security agencies in the recent years have noted the increasing number of local Kashmiri youths taking up arms against the state. For now, the trend is showing no signs of abating in a worrying sign to the security establishment.
Police sources said that the death of the three militants is a big blow to the Kashmiri militant outfit, which has in recent years managed to attract a huge cadre from the local population in south Kashmir.
On Wednesday, forces cordoned off the Dadsara village of Tral near the National Highway, which connects Jammu with Srinagar, and started search operation when the encounter began. The encounter continued throughout the night, in a single-storey house that was reduced to rubble before all the three local militants were killed.
Parray also know as Newton, after the English physicist and mathematician, had joined militancy last year and became part of the Hizbul Mujahideen group.
He had left his home on 16 March, last year, after asking his father if he could give him a tuition fee of Rs 1,000. Parray never returned and in April the Jammu and Kashmir Police informed his father that his son had joined militancy.
Ishaq, an Arabic version of the famous scientist Isaac Newton's name, was a bright student at his school, according to his friends. He was preparing for his medical exams when he went missing.
“He was just 19 and preparing for the Common Entrance Test (CET) to be a doctor when he left home,” a police officer said.
Ishaq had become part of the Hizbul Mujahideen group and was part of a local unit of militants, all of whom are residents of Tral in Pulwama district. The Hizb commander and the poster boy of Kashmir’s new militancy Burhan Muzaffar Wani, son of a school principal is also a resident of Tral.
Thousands of people on Thursday attended his funeral prayers. Friends in village remembered him as a bookworm, always reading with “focus but silent.” No one would first believe that he had become a militant. He was young, intelligent and hardly discussed politics.
“He scored 98.4 percent in Class X announced in December 2011 and secured the ninth position in the Kashmir zone, 85 percent in his Class XII score and was now preparing to be a doctor,” Amir Ahmad, Ishaq's classmate since school days, told Firstpost.
Amid pro-freedom slogans, Ishaq's body was taken to the graveyard in Laribal village where thousands of people participated in his last rites, defying restriction laid down by the state administration.
Located close to the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the village is picturesque and its breathtaking green mountainous forests and fresh water streams is a perfect destination for tourism. But in recent years it has, instead, emerged as a hotbed of the insurgency in the state, with steady flow of recruits like Ishaq.
A complete shutdown was observed in Tral area of Pulwama district following the killing of three militants.
In 2015, the violence as compared to 2014, has come down as 197 people, both militants and civilians, lost their lives. Militancy related incidents had claimed 220 lives in 2014. Among the 197 total killings in 2015, 102 were militants, 12 cops, 41 civilians, 35 Army soldiers, 5 BSF personnel, and 2 CRPF men.