Army hero Lt Ummer Fayaz and Hizbul terrorist Zakir Musa: The story of two Kashmiri lives

first_imgThe two men, both 22 and of Kashmiri origin, lived almost 50 kilometres apart, one in Sudsona Kulgam, and another in a palatial house in Noorpora, Tral.Both learned to use weapons, but their causes couldn’t have been more different.Lt Ummer Fayaz, who was abducted, tortured, and killed by terrorists earlier this month, swore by the Indian Constitution and lived his dream to become an Army officer and serve his country.Zakir Musa, on the other hand, picked up a gun at the age of 18, and joined the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). After death of Burhan Wani, it was left to him to lead HM.Both were good in academics. Both liked sports.Ummer Fayaz studied in an Army good will school, moving away from the militancy fields of Shopian, and eventually making it to NDA. He was a good hockey and volleyball player.Zakir Musa passed all his exams in the first division. A good cricket and carrom player, he represented Jammu and Kashmir on more than one occasion in inter-state carom championships. He participated in Varanasi in 2010 and in Faridabad in 2012.Ummer Fayaz would often take out time to guide young boys from his village to join the mainstream. He inspired boys to take up a job in the government, the Army or the paramilitary.Zakir Musa, with his chiseled good looks and his enthusiasm for bike stunts, moved to Chandigarh to do his B Tech from Ram Devi Jindal College.But his father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, says it was ill-treatment in the Chandigarh college that triggered Musa to take up arms.advertisementNeither Lt Fayaz nor Musa was particularly religious.Although Musa claimed – in a Whatsapp video – to run the Kashmir movement to establish an Islamic state, his father said he “would offer namaz only on Fridays.”Zakir Musa’s carrom certificate A FATHER’S HEARTBREAKThere’s hardly any room in Lt Ummer Fayaz’s household. It is brimming with people, but there is a muted silence.His parents are stunned and shocked at the loss of their son. His two sisters grieve for him.”If we knew this is the fate he would meet, we would never have called him here,” says his father, a small-time apple grower.He is almost teary-eyed.His heart aches every time he speaks of him, he says.Lt Ummer Fayaz’s father with relatives MY HEART BLEEDS FOR LT UMMER FAYAZ, SAYS ZAKIR MUSA’S FATHERMeanwhile, Zakir Musa’s father Rashid, 56, is 4 years away from retiring from his job as an assistant engineer in the Irrigation department in Pulwama.His elder son is a doctor in Barzalla’s Bone and Joint hospital.Rashid says: “My heart bleeds for Lt Ummer Fayaz, for every parent who has lost a son of the soil.”He blames the government for pushing young men into militancy.”My son in 2010 was booked for stone-pelting while he was just 14. He never got over it.”There is no effort to get youth into the mainstream, he said. While Lt Ummer Fayaz was killed – while unarmed – in cold blood by suspected HM Terrorists, a massive manhunt is on to take down Zakir Musa.The father of the militant dreads taking calls, suspecting bad news. ALSO READ | Why Hizbul Mujahideen is rattled after murder of Army officer Ummer Fayaz ALSO READ | Who is Zakir Musa? Why Hizbul Mujahideen distanced itself from his ‘Islamic Kashmir’ remarkALSO WATCH | Nation stands with Lt Ummer Fayaz: Candlelight vigil at India Gate to honour fallen herolast_img

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