Srinagar, March 22

This is not “Jihad” (armed crusade) but “Jahalat” (benighted), a village elder pleaded to Pakistani terrorists in North Kashmir’s Hajin area while asking them to release a 12-year-old boy who was held captive and subsequently killed on Thursday.

Videos of the village elder of Mir Mohalla of Hajin surfaced on social media, showing him asking the two Lashker-e-Toiba terrorists — Ali, alias Furkan, and Hubaib — to release Atif Mir.

The incident took place 33 km north of Srinagar, where the terrorists had taken shelter in the boy’s house at gunpoint, police officials said on Friday.

The terrorists wanted to sexually abuse his sister but the family had helped her escape. This infuriated them and they started beating up the family members, including Atif and his old uncle Hameed Mir, they said.

Hearing their cries, other people in the locality informed the police.

After assessing the situation, the police started rescuing the family. They managed to secure the release of the parents and other family members till they were fired upon by the holed-up terrorists.

“We knew that the boy and uncle were trapped inside. So, we asked the villagers to appeal to the terrorists to release them,” a senior official said.

Speaking in Kashmiri, the village head was the first to ask the terrorists to release the innocent boy. “Do whatever you want, but this is not Jihad but Jahalat. Please release the boy,” he said.

The police also made an appeal through Aqeqa Begum, the wife of Hameed, who was virtually breathless as she asked the terrorists to release her husband and nephew.

Simultaneously, the police made a room intervention and brought Hameed out of the house. He told them that he was assaulted by the terrorists who hit him with iron rods and an AK rifle.

“I tried my best to get my nephew out of this. I begged them but they remained unmoved,” Hameed told the police.

As pressure mounted on the terrorists, they killed the helpless Atif, the police said, adding that the security forces later mounted a heightened operation and killed both the Pakistanis.

Ali had been active in the area for long and was involved in the killing of a BSF personnel and others, including the death of a man whose throat was slit in front of his son.