Love In The Time Of Terror Ends In A Tragedy
12 November 2003
The Indian Express
Srinagar: A 12-year-old boy has a crush on a girl in the neighbourhood and writes her a love letter. The girl's brother, a militant, gets to know about it, kidnaps the boy and shoots him dead. The local Army unit gets involved and burns down the house of the militant's family. It is a tragic story of a little village deep in north Kashmir-an example of how the gun culture is fast changing the contours of Valley's social life. Zubair Ahmad Mir was a class VII student of a school in Punjwa in Kupwara, 90 km from Srinagar. Villagers remember him as a shy little boy who had lost his farmer father, Wali Mohammad Mir, in 1992 when the Border Security Force (BSF) men mistook him for a militant, opened fire and killed him. One day last month, Zubair mustered the courage to talk to a girl he liked-he stopped her on her way and handed over a letter. The girl's brother Farooq Ahmad Mir, a militant who had returned two months ago from across the border, came to know about it. On October 17, he abducted Zubair from his home and took him to the outskirts of the village and shot him dead. The entire village was enraged and the villagers took out a procession. The militants opened fire at the policeman who came to investigate. And when the local Army camp got to know about the incident, they allegedly burnt down the militant's house. 'Now the case has taken a different turn. We had protested against the murder but when Army burnt down the militant's house, it suddenly became an issue between militants and the army,' a villager told The Indian Express. 'There entire village now feels scared.' Senior Superintendent of Police, Handwara, Gareeb Das said: 'We did investigate the matter. I can't believe that the militant killed this little boy on such a trivial issue. It is a pathetic story. The boy was an orphan,' he said, adding that the militant along with six others had returned from Pakistan two months ago.