Exclusive: Another J&K Mother Begs Son to Return From Militancy

Sajjad Shah went to his shop on 8 October and never returned, leading his family to believe he joined militancy.

Updated
India
3 min read

Footballer Majid Khan's reunion with his family in South Kashmir's Anantnag on 17 November, after weeks of wearing an AK-47 rifle and joining jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has unexpectedly sparked mothers of other militants to issue passionate appeals to their sons to abjure violence and return home.

Social media in Kashmir has carried identical, desperately made appeals of at least six families in the last five days.

Even as Ashiq Hussain of Rakhpora Kapran, Shopian, has reportedly turned down his mother's appeal through social media, and refused to desert his organisation Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, families of five more – Sajjad Ahmad Shah of Chogal Handwara, Irfan Ahmed Rather of Shareefabad Tral, Nasir Ahmad Mir of Brath Sopore, Aaquib Iqbal Malik of Ringpath Noorabad, Kulgam, and Malik Asif of Gund, a village near Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu highway, have still not lost their hope.

Sixty-three-year-old Sara of Chogal, a village on Srinagar-Kupwara highway, 75 km from Srinagar, is one such mother who is now harbouring hope of her 26-year-old son, Sajjad Ahmad Shah, returning home. Through The Quint on Tuesday, 21 November, Sara made an emotional appeal to Sajjad.

Sajjad, please come back home. You are the only support of the whole family. Return for your (two-month old) child. Return for your young wife (Neelofar). Return for your two unmarried sisters (Irfana and Murtaza). Return for your paralysed father. Return for your helpless mother. Don’t leave us alone.
Sara, Sajjad Ahmad Shah’s mother

While the family's older son, Azad, works as a labourer, Sajjad used to run a readymade garment shop at Langate. According to the family, he went to attend to his small business on 8 October, but did not return.

As we made frantic efforts to search his whereabouts, some people told us that he has become a militant and posted his picture with a gun on social media. We didn’t see such a picture as we don’t have such facility on our phones. Thereafter, we stopped looking for him.
Ali Mohammad Shah, Sajjad Ahmad Shah’s father

Sajjad’s father was left incapacitated by a stroke of paralysis sometime back. Though he was relieved that four of his daughters were married, he was distressed as he didn’t have the resources to get Irfana and Murtaza married.

Breaking down, Sara said:

He (Sajjad) was the only earning hand of my family. His wife is just 24-years-old and she has given birth to their first son two months back. She hasn’t returned from her parent’s home after her delivery. We don’t visit her. How can we face her and her parents?

Around 50 km away at Gangbugh in the picturesque Lolab valley, Sajjad’s wife, Neelofar, revealed to The Quint on the first anniversary of her wedding that "20 November 2016 was a happy day here, while on the other hand, 20 November 2017 is gloomy and melancholic for our families and relatives."

Her brother, Shabir Ahmad, is making efforts to get his brother-in-law back. He has no idea what organisation Sajjad was working with.

Neelofar, too, broke down while pointing to her baby, and asked what she would do if Sajjad does not return. Like Murtaza, Neelofar too turned hysterical.

Trust me Sajjad, I will set myself on fire and burn to death.
Neelofar, Sajjad Ahmad Shah’s wife

At Langate, Sajjad's shop ‘New Fashion Point’ is shut since the day he disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

"We will be grateful (to militants, police and security forces) if Sajjad returns home," Sara said.

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