Srinagar, March 13

For a father to shoulder the coffin of his son is believed to be the heaviest and the most painful load in the world, but for Farooq Ahmad Khan, the father of slain militant Mudasir Ahmad Khan, the tragedy has been even more painful.

“The security forces told me that one of the two completely charred bodies belonged to my son. I could not identify Mudasir’s body and had little choice other than pick one of them and go home and mourn,” Farooq Ahmad said.

Asked how he or the security forces were sure that Mudasir had been killed in the gunfight at Pinglish village, the wailing father said villagers had seen Mudasir that evening there and after the security forces told him they had killed his son, he had little choice other than believe the worst.

Even in his hour of extreme sorrow, the father is not 100 per cent sure he had brought his son’s body home.

“We have taken samples from the family for DNA tests which would finally establish the identities of the two slain militants at Pinglish village, but based on intelligence inputs and evidence gathered during and after the encounter, there is no doubt that we have killed Mudasir, the key conspirator of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and his Pakistani accomplice, Khalida,” a senior police officer said.

Khan, 26, was a commerce graduate who initially worked for a cellular company. The security forces said he joined the militants’ ranks last January.

The father said he had no inkling about his son even remotely being connected with militancy.

“Last year, security forces raided our house and told us to present Mudasir at the security forces camp the next day. Immediately following the raid, my son went missing till we saw his picture on the social media brandishing a weapon,” the father said.

Mudasir’s father said his advice and pleading with his son last year to surrender fell on deaf ears.

“He once came home last year. I begged him to surrender. But, he said after being accused of attacks on the security forces, he did not believe that surrender would be the right course of action for him,” his father said while looking with blank eyes at the overcast sky.

The light has gone out of his eyes.

Kashmir’s reality is that Farooq Khan is not the first father to shoulder his son’s coffin. The tragedy is that he might not be the last to bear the heaviest load for him in the world on his tender shoulders in the beleaguered Valley. IANS