On the eve of 74th Republic Day on Wednesday, a former militant put up the Tricolour on the outer wall of his house in far off Segdi Bhata village in hilly Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Identified as Sher Khan, he was a Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) militant and a dreaded name in the district between 1998 and 2006. He surrendered in 2016, spent 13 years in jail before being released in 2019.
“I was abducted by Pakistani militants and made to join their ranks when I was 20,’’ he said, adding that he soon got disenchanted with them and “on the first opportunity available, I, along with six others, surrendered before the security forces in Awantipora (Kashmir) in 2006”.
Living with his second wife Shaheena and two daughters Sumaiya (19) and Khaleefa Bano (17), it is the first time that Sher Khan has put up the Tricolour at his house. “After my release from jail three years ago, I used to visit Mughal Maidan to attend the Republic Day function,” he said.
His first wife Parveena, 42, lives separately with their son Musafir, 20.
He regrets his days as a militant, saying that it ruined not only his life, but his family as well. Pointing out that he married Shaheena when he was still a militant, he said that while his son dropped out of school after Class 8, his daughter Sumaiya left studies after Class 6. His youngest daughter Khaleefa Bano, however, is studying in Class 10, he added.
“I was misled on a wrong path and as soon as I realised it, I persuaded others and surrendered before the security forces and joined the mainstream,’’ he added.
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