‘Persecution forced Aatir to join militant ranks’

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Sopore, Dec 20: Women, draped in veil, came and left.  Men muttered the stories of the boy who loved cricket. Youth were in rage, poignant. Bismillah Colony was silent in grief over the death of Aatir Ahmad Dar, 19-year-old boy who was killed on Tuesday in a gunbattle at Saidpora here.
 But there was no regret on any one’s face from Aatir’s family over what has befallen them. As Aatir’s body was handed over to the family last evening, no one mourned his death. “He died as Almighty Allah wished so,” says Masooda, the eldest sister of Aatir, with her eyes downcast.
 Aatir, a BCom 1st year student of Degree College Sopore, who loved cricket, had left the family in the month of Ramadhan this year “all of a sudden.” “He left four days after the holy month began. We knew later he has joined LeT,” the family members say. The family members said Aatir was picked up by Police in 2011 in a stone-pelting case. “They took him outside the house and tortured him to the core. The fact was he never resorted to stone-pelting. But afterwards he nurtured an emotion stronger than stone pelting,” one of the family members says.
 The family says Aatir was mentally tortured by Police in the custody. “Even after facing mental torture for three months in the custody, he passed the 12th class examination brilliantly. Even an FIR was lodged against him. At the peak of his career, he had to go through a lot of atrocities,” they family says.
 “After Aatir left, Police raided our home many times. We didn’t know where he was. We even published a missing report in the newspaper. But Police would continue to come and ransack our home,” they said.
 They say six of their family members were arrested by Police earlier. “They told us we would not be released till Aatir surrenders. Three family members were held for nine days including Aatir’s handicapped brother,” the family members say.
 Aatir’s sister said she saw her brother last time in April. “Yesterday I saw her again--although dead but glowing with life,” she says. “I have raised him in my lap.”
 Masooda says Aatir would play cricket and focus less at studies but “he underwent a paradigm shift and started praying five times a day.” “We will see Aatir now in Aakhirat.”
 She says her brother’s death has created a big void in the family but there is no despair. “He didn’t die a death due an accident, drugs or ailment. He died but making us stronger. He is the boy whom we would be proud of always,” she says.
 The economically well-off family says two of their vehicles are still in police custody. “They tried to weaken us by snatching the means of income. They are yet to provide our two vehicles back to us,” a family member says.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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