Among the three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants gunned down by security forces on Sunday was Kashmiri teen Saqib Bilal, an actor turned militant who had a cameo in the Bollywood film Haider.
According to the Hindustan Times report, Saqib was also a theatre artist before he left home. He was reportedly studying science in Class 11 and a huge football fan. “He wanted to be an engineer. He loved football and acting,” his father Bilal Ahmad Sheikh told News18. “He would never talk about militancy or the conflict. His life was filled with his own adventures.”
The militants were killed in a fierce, 18-hour gun battle in Mujgund, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Saqib and his friend Mudasir Parray (who also died in the encounter) went missing from their home in Hajin area of Bandipora district on 31 August and joined the LeT.
They were killed on Sunday along with a Pakistani militant commander, Ali Bhai. Six houses were damaged during the 18-hour gun battle. The encounter broke out in Mujgund area following a tip-off about the terrorists’ presence on 8 December evening.
The encounter continued for 18 hours as terrorists kept on moving from one area to another. Parray, his friend, was reportedly 15 years old and one of the youngest militants killed in the Valley. His picture sporting a gun surfaced on the social media earlier this week after he went missing from his home in August.
Police officials told Hindustan Times that the two teenagers joined militants immediately after they disappeared.
According to this Firstpost piece, the phenomenon of ‘child soldiers’ who sign up to join militants and and meet their end at the hands of security forces in the Valley is not new.
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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 16:01:14 IST