Valley Village Mourns Slain Paratrooper

24 March 2009
The Indian Express

Ganderbal: Shabir Ahmed, the 21-year old paratrooper who died fighting militants in the Shamsabari range in North Kashmir on Monday, was buried in his native village Dabwakura in Ganderbal on Tuesday. In a show of emotion usually reserved for slain militants, the soldiers death was mourned with the slogans of Nari-e-Takbeer and Allah-u-Akbar, usually heard during the funerals of militants in the Valley. Some mourners even shouted slogans of azad Hindustan zindabad. He was flown in along with a few others to launch a counter-operation to halt the advance of a large number of militants that had sneaked into the Kupwara sector. He died on the fourth day of the encounter which is still underway. Shabir had joined as sepoy in the Jammu Kashmir Light Infantry in March 2007 during an Army recruitment rally. He was posted to Bangalore and then to the border district of Kupwara in the Valley. “Shabir was a humble human being,” said his brother Ghulam Mohammad Malik, a school teacher. “The way people wailed at his funeral today showed that he died a heroic death. He was a loving man.” Malik says that he was informed by the Army about his brother’s death on March 20. “He was supposed to come home on Nauroz, but he called that morning saying that he could not come as he was busy. I also recharged his mobile and soon found it switched off and got worried. In the evening we were told by the Army about Shabir’s death,” Malik said. “He was among the first paratroopers to have died in the encounter,” he added.