The slain militant, Ishfaq Ahmad Wani of Koil Pulwama who was killed in a shootout at Awantipora was among the three slain militants whose fathers have also died with a gun in their hands.
In last two months, three well qualified youth from Pulwama and Shopian who had joined militant ranks were killed whose fathers were also already killed before two decades on the path they had chosen.
According to KNO correspondent, Ishfaq Ahmad Wani, son of Late Mohammad Yousuf Wani alias Tahir of Koil village of Pulwama was killed in a brief encounter at Banderpora on 28 December 2018, Liyakat Muneer Wani son of Muneer Ahmad Wani alias Colonel Jameel of Dargund Bellow was killed in his native village on November 10, 2018 while as Nawaz Ahmad Wagay, son of Gh Qadir Wagay of Reban Shopian was killed in his native village on 17 November 2018.
Ishfaq responded to home calling appeal of his mother but only dead. He remained active for about 160 days after he went missing on 20th of July. His mother, Rafiqa Banoo was repeatedly appealing him to return back but he didn’t pay any heed to the repeated calls.
Rafiqa said that her family has been devastated by Ishfaq’s decision to join militancy. “I have been moving from pillar to post since the day my son went missing but failed to change his decision despite requesting all militant organisations to allow Ishfaq to return home,” she said.
“I know what I have done for his studies as I took a lot of pains to finance his studies as Ishfaq’s father was also a militant killed before 22 years,” she said.
Ishfaq left home on 20th of July, saying that he has to appear in some examination at Rajouri however “we all got shocked when his photograph while wielding gun went viral on social media,” said one of his close relatives.
He was never arrested by forces before he joined ranks and “we fail to understand why he left a luxurious life and choose a short life,” he said.
Ishfaq a brilliant student was first studying in his own village Koil in Alamdar Public school, after passing 10th with good marks, he opted for Science stream and later completed his BSC from Government Degree College Pulwama, said his friend Rizwan Ahmad, adding that after completing his BSC, he went outside state where from he completed his masters in Business administration.
He completed his MBA in year 2015 and soon after completing his MBA, he got a job in ICCI bank and later resigned after working there for one year and started fruit business, he said, adding that he earned a good amount of money from fruit business with which he was associated till he left home and joined militant ranks.
Whole area got shocked when he joined militant ranks and nobody is aware yet what compelled him to join militant as his family is nowadays a well off family, Rizwan said.
Ishfaq’s father Mohammad Yousuf Wani alias Tahir who was Hizb commander and was considered as mastermind in making IEDs was killed in an encounter along with his two associates on 31st August 1996 in Pingelan village of Pulwama district.
Ishfaq has left behind by mother, step father (Uncle), three brothers and one sister. His elder brother Aijaz Ahmad is working in police department. Nawaz Ahmad Wagay from Reban village who had completed his masters in Urdu subject had joined Al-Badr outfit in a span of less than four days in the last week of June. “He left home after Friday prayers and within hours his photo carrying AK-47 went viral on social media within hours,” one of his relative said.
Nawaz was arrested several times by forces for having contact with militants, his relative added. The mother of Nawaz, Sara Begum said her family has been devastated by Nawaz’s decision to join militancy. Sara said she has been moving from pillar to post since the day her son went missing and announced his joining Al-Badr by releasing a gun-wielding photograph on various social networking sites.
“I am helpless. I took a lot of pains to finance his studies,” she said. The father of Nawaz Ghulam Qadir Wagay was also killed at his native area in year 1996. Nawaz belonged to an economically sound family. Nawaz is survived by mother, three sisters and one brother. Among them, one married and one unmarried sister are government employees.
Liyaqat Muneer Wani was haunted by extra-judicial killing of his father, Muneer Ahmad Wani since early childhood, his family members said. They said Muneer alias Colonel Jameel was former Hizb divisional commander.
“Muneer left the government job as Laboratory Assistant in 1989 to receive arms training in Pakistan. He returned from Pakistan in December 1990,” they said. According to them, Muneer, who was close to Hizb chief Syed Salah-ud-Din, became famous for his guerrilla strategies and remained active for nearly nine years.
He became HM’s divisional commander. They said Muneer was arrested by forces on January 26, 1998. “Four days later, he was killed in a staged encounter few kilometers away from the site where his son was killed today,” the family members said.
Liyaqat was barely two-years-old when his father was killed. He had lost his mother a year before. “When he grew up, Liyaqat often used to talk about his father’s killing. While he was pursuing graduation in Degree College Pulwama, he became politically conscious,” his family members said.
They said his father was his inspiration and he dreamt to wear his father’s shoes. “Liyaqat took active part in 2016 street protests, which erupted after killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani”.
“His right eye was hit by pellets outside his house in Bellow during clashes and he underwent two surgeries at SMHS hospital,” the family members said, adding that the injury didn’t calm Liyaqat and he attempted to join militant ranks several times but was made to return home by his family.
“Every relative used to counsel him that he should look after his younger brother and forget about joining militant ranks,” they said, adding, “he didn’t listen to us and made umpteen attempts to join HM, a militant group which was headed by his deceased father in Kashmir at one point of time.”
The family members said Hizb refused to recruit him knowing that he was an orphan and had to look after his family. Liyaqat joined militant ranks on March 10 this year after writing his final year examinations. A month later, his results were declared and he had secured 92 % marks in graduation.
“He joined Lashkar-e-Toiba but later switched to HM after his cousin, Rayees Ahmad Wani, a HM militant was killed in March 2017,” they said, adding that Liyaqat was said to be a close associate of slain militant, Manan Wani.
“He called us on phone a day before he was killed saying he would come to home next day,” the family members said.
He was buried next to grave of his slain cousin, Rayees Ahmad Wani who was killed along with his associate Farooq Ahmad Hurrah of Nazimpora in brief shootout in Malangpora area when they were boarding a car.