Last week, one of the most disturbing pictures that came across on the internet was of a 14-year-old cute boy holding an AK-47 rifle in one hand, and a knife in another. The boy in the picture was identified as Mudasir Rashid Parray, a resident of Khankah Mohalla in Hajin.
Media reports suggest Mudasir had gone missing from his home on August 31, after an encounter took place at nearby Parray Mohalla in which three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed. His picture surfaced on the internet last week with a gun: the post-Burhan style of announcing entry into rebel brotherhood. This picture not only testifies the present status of Kashmir but also the vulnerability of yet another generation ready to get consumed in the never-ending cycle of bloodshed.
In another world, a boy like him would be living in a world of fantasy and idealism, surrounded by friends and family, dreaming about making it big in life. But Mudasir is unfortunately born in Kashmir, a place ridden by bloodshed and uncertainty since last three decades. How could a 14-year-old understand the complexities of conflict? Isn’t it the collective duty of the society to counsel such kids so that they see hope in life, and not wish for death, as is the case with Mudasir. With over 227 militant killing since January 2018, this year has been the bloodiest in last one decade. In such a highly volatile situation, a small society like Kashmir cannot afford to use its kids as cannon fodder.
In January 2017, everyone in Kashmir was pained when the erstwhile lawmaker Er Rasheed, revealed the details that how a juvenile Sahil Ahmad Malik, a resident of Pamposh Colony, Palpora in Srinagar, is crying inside Kotbalwal jail after his detention under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). Sahil, whose real age was proven to be just 14-years, was booked under PSA after authorities had wrongly shown him as an adult. The public outcry and uproar by media helped Sahil get out of jail. If this can happen, why cannot society help Mudasir, who is of the same age as Sahil, in getting out of the war theatre and rejoin the school?
Why militant outfit cannot let him go considering his tender age, and his inability to understand the complexities of three-decade-old conflict that has so far consumed over one lakh lives. After all, like Sahil, Mudasir too deserves our attention!