Shock in Valley after LeT militants kill 12-year-old boy during encounter with security forces

Atif Ahmad Mir, a 6th standard student of the Army Goodwill School, was held hostage by two Lashkar-e-Tayyeba militants who were trapped inside his two-storey house at Mir Mohalla, Hajin, in Bandipora

Published: 24th March 2019 03:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2019 10:07 AM   |  A+A-

Atif Ahmad Mir’s father Muhammad Shafi and mother Shareefa Jan. | PTI

Express News Service

HAJIN (BANDIPORA, J&K): “Atif, our only hope for a better future, wanted a good education but his killing shattered all our expectations,” lamented Muhammad Shafi Mir, father of the 12-year-old who was used as a human shield by militants during an encounter with security forces in Kashmir.

Atif Ahmad Mir, a 6th standard student of the Army Goodwill School, was held hostage by two Lashkar-e-Tayyeba militants who were trapped inside his two-storey house at Mir Mohalla, Hajin, in Bandipora.

After the 18-hour gunfight ended on Friday, Atif’s charred body was recovered from the debris along with the bodies of the two militants, Ali and Hubaib. Atif’s father said militants did not pay heed to the pleas of his wife, relatives, locals and police to release him.

“They might have wanted to prolong the gunfight or thought of getting a chance to escape, but that was no justification for having taken our son hostage,” said Shafi, wiping his tears.

Atif wanted to join Sainik School, he said. “We had got an admission form of the Sainik School and were hopeful he would get through, but his dream of pursuing better education remained unfulfilled,” an emotional Shafi said. He rubbished reports that one of the militants was putting pressure on the family to marry their elder daughter to him.

On Thursday, at around 8:45 am, a joint contingent of police, CRPF and Army laid siege to  Atif’s house where the two militants were present. Eight members of the family were inside at that time.

“Six of us, who were on the ground floor, left the house immediately but Atif and my brother-in-law Hamid were on the second floor where the militants took a position,” Shareefa Jan, the heartbroken mother of Atif, said.

She said the troops exercised restraint and did not open fire for a long time. However, when the gunfight started, Hamid managed to escape.

“Seeing Hamid without Atif, I lost hope of seeing my son alive,” she said.

Not only Atif’s family but the entire village is in shock.

“It is for the first time in the 30-year militancy that they took a civilian hostage during a gunfight,” a villager said. Bandipora SSP said the boy was killed by Ali, who was carrying a long knife.

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