Mugees Ahmad Mir, a young militant commander of Kashmir, was killed in a shootout on the city outskirts on 17 November, according to the police, more than a year and a half after he left home. Aasif Sultan speaks to Mugees’s mother Hajra Banu about her son
Q Did you ever ask him to return home?
No, never. How could I say that to him? He was a righteous person with sound religious knowledge. I didn’t deem it fit to ask such a pious person to return to home.
Some people did tell me to pressurise him, but I didn’t agree. Since we are engulfed in oppression, how could I have told him to return when the injustice is the order of the day.
You see, young boys were killed or blinded with pellets and bullets. Were they carrying guns? Many young children lost their lives and some families lost their only child to this brutal oppression. Seeing this, I didn’t think it would be right to call back my son. We must stand in solidarity with the oppressed and not be fence-sitters.
Besides, it is beyond the power of a mother to call back her son after he decides to join mujahideen in the battlefield.
Q Why did he join the militant ranks?
Our family has a long history of being oppressed by government forces. My brother-in-law, who also happens to be Mugees’s father-in-law, Muhammad Maqbool, was abducted by government forces. He disappeared in the custody. They didn’t even return his body. Soon after his disappearance, my sister passed away too. Then their elder daughter too passed away – an entire family was ruined. My children saw all these things right with their own eyes and asked why this was happening to our family.
Now, their son, Khateeb-ullah, is currently languishing in jail with no one to care for his family in Bijbehara. He is the lone breadwinner of his seven-member family. And to compound their problems, no one has come forward to help them. Nobody. Do you think children overlook these things? They internalise and then vent their anger by rebelling against the oppressors.
Q What was your reaction when you first saw his body?
I didn’t shriek, I didn’t panic. I was content with that my son has achieved what he had left his home for. I was very happy and distributed sweets among my relatives and I told them not to cry over the shaheed.
Why should we mourn? Did he do anything evil? He had chosen the right path to fight oppression. When children see this oppression they decide to join the rebels. What can a mother do?
Q Were you in contact with him?
At first, we didn’t know his whereabouts. Then we got a hunch that he may have joined the militants. So we decided to trace him to find out what trigged his decision to join them at that moment. I somehow got in contact with him and met him in an orchard along with his wife. We both asked him to return, because we didn’t know the reasons that prompted him to take this decision. This was our first meeting after he left the home in April 2016. I was crying relentlessly to see a glimpse of my son. Emotions overpowered me at that time and I told him to return. His wife too pleaded with him to return. But he was determined to stay on the path he had chosen and asked us to return while hoping for the best. He also gave permission to his wife to remarry, which she declined. She told him that she had lost her father in the cause and gave him permission to continue with what he was doing.
He explained why he had taken the path of armed rebellion and convinced us that this was the best path for him. So we returned and after that we never told him to return.
Q Which militant outfit did he belong to?
He never said anything about that. For me, all mujahideen are the same whether they belong to this outfit or that outfit. He was a mujahid and that’s all that matters.
The interview appeared in January issue of Kashmir Narrator. For subscribing to hard copy, contact KashmirNarrator@gmail.com for details