Friday, July 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

They return home after months
Army rescues youths from ultras’ clutches
M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 19
Mr Ghulam Mohiuddin Mir raised his hands to thank the Allah. He had seen the face of his son, Mushtaq Ahmed Mir, a conductor, after seven months. Tears trickled down his cheeks as the Army authorities handed over his son to him at the corps headquarters here today.

Parents of Mushtaq Naik, a Class IX student of Tral in Pulwama district, had no words to express their happiness. “We had lost all hope when seven months ago we were informed that militants had taken away seven boys from Tral and Shopian areas. We feared that our boys would either be killed on the border or by militants.”

Bilal Ahmed, Saiful Islam, Mushtaq Ahmed Mir, Javed Ahmed Mir, Mohammed Amir Lone, Mushtaq Naik and Mohammed Shafi were travelling in a bus when a group of four militants entered their bus. They checked “our identity cards and took us away”.

Bilal Ahmed said: “We were blindfolded and made to board a jeep. First we thought they were men of the security forces as all the four were in Army uniform.”

“It was after six hours’ journey that we learnt that we had been abducted by militants,” Javed Mir said. “We were taken to Surankot in Poonch where we were ill-treated.” He said the militants would barge into any house and secure food and grains and would “molest women”.

After a couple of months, “we were told to get ready to cross over to Pakistan for arms training. During this period, we had to suffer tribulations but there was no way out.”

“Recently we found our captors out of their hideout. We raced to the nearest Army camp in Surankot where we surrendered.”

They said the troops treated all seven boys well and “we owe to them our survival and safety”.

Col Naveen Chopra said the other five youths would be sent to their parents.

Col Chopra said the fact that these youths were forcibly being taken for arms training indicated that the militants were losing local support. Local youths were reluctant to join militancy. Hence, force was being used to coerce them into militancy. As a result, Pakistani agencies had started banking on foreign mercenaries.Back


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