Conflict

The making of a militant: ‘Zubair was always in jail, what option was he left with’

Shopian: Zubair Ahmed Turray ran away from police custody and joined the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in May this year. What made him take such an extreme step? His father Bashir Ahmed Turray believes that his son lost his freedom at the tender age of 11.

“His mother had a surgery, he was in jail.”

“His sister got married, he was in jail.”

“His grandmother died, he was in jail.”

“Summer, winter, spring and autumn, he was always in jail.”

“He had releasing orders from home department but he was still in jail. So what options was he left with?’’

These are the first words of Bashir Ahmed Turray, father of Zubair Ahmed Turray who fled from police custody on 1st of May and joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.

Zubair went missing from the police station Keegam of district Shopian. Police said that ‘Zubair had disappeared from custody.’

That day, Turray senior got a phone call from the police.

It was around 12 in the day. I was busy in my orchard. They asked me to pay a visit to the police station and I went. There they said that my son had decamped at 10:30 in the morning,” said Turray Sr, who is a cloth merchant by profession.

Bashir says that Zubair was only 11 when he was first accused of being an over ground worker.

“That was back in 2004,” he said adding, “He was indicted in 2009 for being a part of protests in Shopian double rape and murder case. He was again arrested on the morning of 9th February 2013, the day when Afzal Guru was hanged.”

According to Bashir, when Zubair was slapped with his first Public Safety Act (PSA) for stone pelting, he had already been in jail for 14 consecutive days.

“How can my son pelt stones when he was already in jail?”, Bashir asked.

Turray Sr informed that the second PSA against Zubair was registered citing that he “spearheaded a ‘million march’ against Narendra Modi’s visit”.

‘’On November 7, 2015 when Modi visited Kashmir, Zubair was kept in police station Heepora for 27 days and was booked under another PSA for marshaling a million march protest rally in Shopian,’’ Bashir said.

“When did that million March happen?” asked a surprised Bashir.

He said that after a couple of more PSAs and FIRs, Zubair was finally released on 28th February 2017. However, his freedom was very much short lived.

“On 24 February 2017 Home department issued Zubair’s releasing orders after all PSA’s against him were quashed. He was released on 28th February,” Bashir recalls.

Soon, Zubair was asked to pay a visit to the dreaded Counter Insurgency Unit of Kashmir.

“After releasing Zubair, he was asked to visit Counter Insurgency Unit of Kashmir in two days. So he stayed at Jawahar Nagar with his aunt. On 3rd March, he paid a visit. There he was handed over to Shopian police and was again kept in custody for three months illegally,” Turray Sr informed.

His uncle maintained that they didn’t believe the police statement and first and they filed a complaint against them.

“Initially we did not believe the police statement,’’ said Zubair’s uncle.

“We filed a complaint against the police in district court Shopian on 4th May,’’ he added.

The news of the local boy missing from police custody was followed by protests and complete shutdown in district Shopian.

After a few days of shutdown in the district, on the night of 12th May, a video went viral on the social media. In the 5 minute video Zubair was seen wearing a military fatigue and admitting that he had joined militant ranks.

“The slavery forced me to take such a step. After quashing of eight PSAs, I was still kept in jail for no fault of mine.’’ Zubair was seen saying in the video.

Zubair also thanked the people of Shopian for supporting him and also asked his father to be happy.

“Zubair has not contacted us yet,’’ Bashir said.

‘’I want my son to come back,’’ Bashir yearns. But deep inside I feel he will be again arrested for no reasons, so why should he come back,’’ Bashir maintained.


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