“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them”Bruce Lee
I am Nazir Altaf and I was pursuing BA as a final year student at Govt Degree College, Handwara. I have pursued my passion for cricket since my childhood and always aspired to play for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL.
I belong to Hangah, Handwara. My father passed away in a road accident when I was eleven. I stayed along with my mother & little sister Mariam at my maternal uncle’s place in Maratgam. The pathway of my life was being carved along the peaceful avenues till lighting struck on the fateful day of 19 April 2020. I was reported missing on that day. Rest they say is history.
I may not be able to narrate my story in my mortal form but my guilt will always haunt me. With Allah’s grace I may be able to chalk out a better path for my life next time! My ‘rooh’ is still haunted by terrible memories. May be my story reaches my people someday!
My uncle and relatives frantically searched for me and filed the missing report at Police Station, Handwara the same day. They used all possible means and platforms to contact me. Missing reports in local newspapers and Facebook were turning out pale and efforts started to seem futile. All was to be in vain at the last! Inshah Allah! Had I realized this in time!
I was lured and trapped into it. By the time I could comprehend this, I was deeply enmeshed into the web, impossible to be rescued. I came to my senses when I learned that I had joined the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Adil, one of my contacts had indoctrinated me over a period of time and enticed me into joining the ranks. I can recollect the case of twenty-year-old Majid Khan, district-level footballer of Anantnag, who joined Lashkar e Toiba tanzeem in 2017 but soon surrendered to join the mainstream.
Unfortunately, I can only draw parallels to the incident. My time on ‘kurra-e-arz’ had started ticking backwards. I finally got trapped with a foreign terrorist in a gunfight with security forces. Although we were given a chance to surrender, my accomplice opened fire ensuing a gunfight.
By the time I could grasp the gravity of the situation, I was already on the target list. My slightest intention to surrender were met with death threats to my family members. I missed my mother & Mariam so much! My childhood memories started flashing in front of my eyes. Somehow my subconscious mind realized that the end had begun. Sketchy images of my late father started flashing in front of my eyes. I could hear my uncle crying and calling me back into his arms. I had wished for a peaceful life. My craze and gleam for posing with the gun that seemed all-powerful had dug my grave.
I didn’t know better. I didn’t know where this path would lead me. I wish to tell my brothers and friends to shun this path I took and never ever think of joining this path. I wish to appeal to the youth to work towards building a better future. I have wasted my life and I can’t go back now. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.
We were repeatedly hailed by the Army and the Police for a chance to surrender but the Pakistani brother threatened me. I was forced back by my foreign confederate. The enemy is always within, sleeps within, the one you hold close and dear to your heart. I wanted to come out of this life. I wanted to come back to my family, my uncle, my Mariam. I wish I had chance to serve my uncle, work hard and make something worthwhile of my life. I wish I could become someone I dreamt of! I don’t have that chance anymore. Now my fate is sealed and destined for the doom.
But I want to caution my brothers and friends to make sure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to any of their friends or family. There is no wayout of this labyrinth. I have to accept my fate and I pray no one gets to die like this. I wish I could ask everyone to forgive me for my blunders and felonies. I wanted to come home, live my life but it was too late by then.
I wish I could have been able to surrender when I was given an option.….
Army and Police gave us every chance for it. They promised a rehabilitation program and a job also. But what hurts the most is that the people I thought to be our own forced me to take my last breath like this. I didn’t want my family to get hurt because of me. I was left with no choice.
We had almost exhausted our ammunition. I knew what lay ahead. Waiting for the bullet to pierce my flesh in the cold night, I closed my eyes and prayed to Allah. I wished for what I couldn’t accomplish in this life. I wished had I not made the terrible choice. I wish I could undo all the wrongdoings. I wish I could…but its too late now! I wish my rooh rests in peace!
“Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt