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A mother’s appeal: ‘come back my son, come back’..

She might have barely been known outside her neighbourhood, let alone in the entire old city. But today, thanks to the power of social media, she has found her way perhaps into every home of Kashmir.Sobbing openly before the television cameras in Srinagar’s Press Enclave, Mymoona Mushtaq spoke with the love and commitment of a mother longing for the return of her son. “Come back my son, come back,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. A few weeks shy of the nineteenth birthday, Fahad Mushtaq Waza made a resolution whose outcome doesn’t leave a shred of doubt and his mother knows it pretty well.
On Tuesday, Fahad took to social media to announce that he had taken up arms against the government by becoming a member of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Fahad, a school dropout, had become a member of his father’s team of cooks, to continue the family tradition of cooking big meals served at large functions to celebrate a wedding or mark a religious ceremony.A few days back he left home telling his mother that he was going with a group of Tableegi followers to preach for a few days. It wasn’t the first time he had gone with them. Each time he went, he would always return on the day he was expected to come home. But this time around, he wasn’t home and his family began to get anxious about his safety.“This time he lied to me for the first time,” said Mymoona Mushtaq who has a heart condition. “We were shocked to see the photograph of Fahad with a gun in his hands.” When Fahad didn’t come back home on Monday, his uncle Mehraj-ud-Din Wani was the first to approach the Khanyar police station with a missing report. “The family was shell-shocked and filing the missing report was the only thing we could do,” he said.
The mother said that Fahad always kept his word when he went out with the preachers. “He would leave his home for three days, sometimes for a week and sometimes for ten days. But every time he would return on time,” she said. “This time, he told me he would return on Monday. I had never thought, not even in my wildest dreams, that my son would take this extreme step.”
The tendency among the young in recent years to take up arms against the government had somehow left Srinagar city untouched. But in the last year or so there have been several cases of young men joining various guerrilla outfits to declare their war. The first recent case of a young man taking up arms was Sajad Ahmed Gilkar of Nowhatta. He was killed in an encounter in the Redbug area of the Budgam district last July. A few months later Mugees Ahmed Mir of Parimpora, HMT Srinagar was killed in Zakoora. The latest was the killing of B.Tech student Muhammad Eisa Fazili of Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen outfit, a resident of Ahmadnagar area of Srinagar, who was killed in an encounter in Kokernag this month.

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