Srinagar: On 22nd March, in three gunfights, five militants were killed by armed forces. Around 33 kilometres North of Srinagar, in Hajin a 12-year-old boy Atif Ahmed Mir was also killed inside his home where two militants had taken shelter.
For two days, the gunfight was going on. While rest of the family had escaped, Atif, according to the police, was “kept hostage by the militants”. Even the family can be seen in a video ‘pleading the militants’ to let the boy go.
His killing evoked outrage, with locals, Human Rights activists, resistance leaders, mainstream politicians and netizens condemning it.
“This is not jihad (armed crusade) but jahalat (benighted),” a village elder was reported to have said to the militants while appealing them to release Atif. A complete shutdown is being observed in Hajin town of Baramulla district to mourn the minor’s killing.
Militants and armed forces are both responsible for this murder, said Khurram Parvez, a prominent Kashmiri human rights activist.
Chairman of the Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed sadness over the way Atif was killed.
Condemn and deeply saddened at the killing of 11 year old Atif in Hajin. It is heart wrenching that the young child was lost in such a manner. My heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and dua for jannah for the innocent soul.
— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) March 23, 2019
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) also condemned Atif’s killing while protesting against the custodial death of Rizwan Pandit, a school principal.
“Killings of innocents is going on unabated and as we are still mourning the custodial death of Rizwan Pandit, one more innocent boy Atif Mir along with many others has been killed with impunity in north Kashmir,” JKLF vice chairman Showkat Ahmad Bakhshi had said.
The Srinagar Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattu had called it heart-wrenching news while asking, “How long will civilians die as acceptable collateral?”
Heart wrenching news. For how long will civilians die as acceptable collateral? For how long? My heart goes out to the family of the young child. A tragedy of unimaginable pain… https://t.co/ysAZDsxZUk
— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) March 22, 2019
President of People’s Democratic Party and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti in her reaction said that there is no method in this madness and the future looks bleak.
A minor held hostage during an encounter has been killed in Bandipore. Innocent civilians who are struggling to make ends meet have become casualties in the war between militants & armed forces. There is no method in this madness & the future looks bleak.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 22, 2019
Omar Abdullah, National Conference Vice President, too took to his twitter handle to react over the incident.
I wish there was as much outrage in Kashmir against militants when they take a young boy hostage as there is when security forces are accused of human rights violations. https://t.co/bsjzJdVrXh
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 22, 2019
Peoples Conference Chief Sajad Lone called the incident ‘pure terror.’
A young child dies in the most unfortunate circumstances. This is pure terror. And the perpetrator will go to hell.
— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) March 22, 2019
Former bureaucrat Shah Faesal said that ‘Kashmiris are being killed by both sides without impunity.
No selective condemnation.
We won’t differentiate between the custodial murder of Rizwan and the killing of Atif in an encounter after he was allegedly taken hostage by militants.
Kashmiris are being killed by both sides without impunity.
Question is who is killing more.
— Shah Faesal (@shahfaesal) March 23, 2019
While some Kashmiri netizens condemned the killing, some questioned the police version of the boy being used as a hostage by the militants.
Commenting on Hassan’s post, another netizen wrote, “Do you really believe the hostage story? I don’t think we know the truth.”
Like this story? Producing quality journalism costs. Make a Donation & help keep our work going.