Footballer Majid quits militancy

Army hails ‘brave decision’; He returned after mother’s appeal, say police

Khalid Gul
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 17 2017 11:59PM | Updated Date: Nov 18 2017 10:02AM
Footballer Majid quits militancyGK Photo

The army on Friday hailed what it called the “brave decision” of footballer-turned-militant Majid Khan of quitting the Lashkar ranks and assured that they won’t press for any charges against him and allow him to join his family soon to “live a normal life.” The police on the other hand said that 22-year-old Majid from Anantnag town, who had joined Lashkar-e-Toiba few days back, had neither surrendered nor was arrested but returned on his own.

Addressing a press conference here, general officer commanding of army’s Victor Force, major general BS Raju, said that security forces “only facilitated his return.”

“Majid had strayed from a decent path for a little while and on his own decided to come back after realising the folly of the path he had chosen. So, we ensured his safe return,” he said.

Raju also hailed Majid’s mother for her “courageous appeal” asking her son to return home.

Soon after a picture of the ace footballer holding an AK-47 went viral on social media, his mother and friends made passionate appeals asking him to return home to serve his parents.

“He (Majid) decided to shun violence and return keeping in view the state of mind of his parents. We will provide him full opportunity to return to the mainstream to pursue his career in academics as well as his sporting talent,” the army commander said.

He assured that no charges will be pressed against him. “He will soon join his family and lead a normal life.”

“The youth who have gone astray and have treaded a wrong path but are not involved in any criminal act must take the footsteps of Majid and return to mainstream,” Raju said.

He also said that those militants who have been “coerced into committing any criminal act can also return within the provisions of law.”

“We will request them to shun violence and return to mainstream and we will take full care of them,” he said, thanking media for highlighting the message of Majid’s parents.

Talking to journalists later, Kashmir range inspector general of police Muneer Khan said that Majid returned on his own. “Let me tell you that he was neither apprehended nor did he surrender. He went on his own and has come back on his own. Of course the appeal from his parents, friends and the role media played has really helped in his return,” Khan said.

He was flanked by senior superintendent of police Anantnag Altaf Khan and superintendent of police Awantipora, Zahid Malik.

“We stick to our policy that youth who have taken this path must return and we will welcome them with open arms,” the IGP said.

Asked whether the appeal of Majid’s mother made the militant outfit to allow him to return, Khan said: “It is more of a presumption. You seriously expect good sense to prevail in Lashkar, an organisation that has committed dastardly acts and unleashed terror, and allow him to return? What are you saying? Don’t talk about Lashkar. They only kill people and then deny.”

Khan however added that he (Majid) came back without a weapon.

To a question about Majid’s possible harassment by security agencies, the Kashmir police chief said: “I assure you. He won’t face any sort of harassment.”

“The rehabilitation of militants who give up arms is very much possible. They are a part of this society and have right to live a dignified life,” he said.

He cited an example of a 10-day-old militant Aqib alias Ata from DH Pora who was arrested in an injured condition in Kund operation in Kulgam recently.

“He had shot dead an army soldier. He was lying injured. We took him to a hospital. What more do you expect?” he said, reiterating his appeal to youth who have joined militancy to return.

During the press interaction, Majid, a resident of Sadiqabad locality in Anantang town, was briefly presented before the media at the army’s Victor Force headquarters in Awantipora.

However, the army and police refused to share full details of his return.

A source however said that he was early in the morning handed over to the Victor Force by army’s 1 Rashtriya Rifles camped at High Ground Anantnag and under the command of 1 sector-based in Khanabal .

“Majid had returned Thursday night at around 10:30 pm to be taken away by army,” the source added.