Kashmir: Terrorists use 12-year-old in J&K as shield, get him killed

A 12-year-old boy who was used as a human shield by two terrorists, even as emotional family members made several appeals to them to release him, during a gunfight with security forces was killed at Hajin in J&K’s Bandipora.

The two Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives from Pakistan were among eight terrorists killed in four different operations across the Valley in the last 24 hours.

The hostage, Atif Mir, a student of Class 6, was charred to death along with the two terrorists, police sources said. In a video which went viral, a neighbour of the child’s family, Ghulam Md Dar, was heard pleading on a loudspeaker, “Is this the jihad you claim to follow? It is not jihad but jaahiliyat (ignorance). Jihad doesn’t allow you to use a child as a shield. You have chosen the path of armed struggle, so fight it on your own. Don’t use innocent children as a shield.”

While Atif’s mother Atiqa went to the house to beg the terrorists to spare her son, his aunt Sharifa Begum made an appeal on loudspeaker. But the terrorists were not moved by their emotional pleas.

Police sources said the two terrorists, Ali Bhai and Hubaib Bhai, had forcibly taken shelter in the house of brothers Mohammad Shafi Mir and Abdul Hamid Mir on Thursday evening and even eaten their food. However, soon after, security forces cordoned off the house and evacuated the family along with two daughters. The terrorists, however, took the boy hostage and used him as a shield.

SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik said that Ali Bhai wanted to forcibly marry a girl of the Mir family but the family didn’t allow the terrorists to meet her. They were adamant to meet the girl and as a result held Atif and his uncle Abdul Hamid hostage. While Hamid managed to escape, Atif was used as a human shield.

He said security forces adopted various methods to rescue the boy. “We made announcements through microphones. We also used local Auqaf committees and family members for their release,” the SSP said. In three other counter-insurgency operations in the last 24 hours, six terrorists were killed while seven jawans were injured.

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