Wailing mother’s plea compels young LeT militant to surrender

Srinagar, Nov 17: Pleas of a wailing mother and passionate appeal from his father finally compelled college student Arshid Majid Khan, an obsessed footballer, to surrender before security agencies today, barely days after he joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, officials said.
Twenty-year-old Khan walked into an Army camp quietly after videos of his mother Ayesha and his father appealing to him to return home started circulating on social media.
Khan appeared before the Army camp in the middle of the night and surrendered.
He was taken to the headquarters of Victor Force, an Army unit engaged in countering militancy in South Kashmir, at Awantipora, 33 kms from here.
“He is with us and we will take care of him. We hope that this will encourage others who have not indulged in any heinous crime to surrender before the authorities,” Major General B S Raju told reporters at Awantipora.
Major General Raju, who has been giving a humane touch in dealing with people in South Kashmir, said, “I would like to compliment the brave boy, Majid, who decided to shun the path of violence.”
Giving details, he said his team had information that he wanted to surrender and “we only facilitated his smooth return and keeping in mind his parents and career”.
“He strayed from his path and realised himself. No charges will be pressed on him,” he said, adding that he would be given all opportunities to pursue his career as well as sporting talent.
The Army officer also made an appeal to the youths who have joined the ranks of militants to follow the path of Majid.
“Even if some local youths, after joining, had committed some small crime, I assure them that lenient view will be taken,” he said.
The Army officer felt that Khan’s return could turn into a test case for those who want to leave militancy and join the mainstream.
Khan, who is the only son of his parents, was allowed to meet his mother and father for a few hours separately after which he was kept at a room with all the amenities required for a student.
“Look, he is neither under arrest nor under any detention. We will decide on his future course after sometime. A bit of rehabilitation would do no harm,” Maj Gen Raju said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Muneer Khan said that there would be no case against him. “He went on his own and he came back on his own with persuasion of his parents and friends. We stick to our policy of letting the youth, who treaded the wrong path, to return and we will welcome them with open arms.”
He said the youth would be rehabilitated and sent back to his parents. “Rehabilitation is a process and all the youths, who are on the other side of the fence, have every right to stay in the society with honour and dignity. We are true to our words.”
Majid’s surrender was seen as a whiff of fresh air in tense South Kashmir which has witnessed large-scale recruitment of local youths by militants in the past. Unofficial estimates have put the figure of such youths at nearly 150 since July, 2016.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the return of Khan as “good development” and expressed hope that he would resume his normal life soon.