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Kashmiri footballer-turned-militant surrenders after wailing mother's plea

Arshid Majid Khan, a footballer, had announced his joining of militant group on social networking site Facebook on November 10

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

Majid Arshid Khan
Majid Arshid Khan

Pleas of a wailing mother and passionate appeal from his father finally compelled college student and footballer Arshid Majid Khan to surrender before security agencies on Friday, barely days after he had joined the 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 Awantipura, 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.

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.

His surrender was seen as a whiff of fresh air in tense South 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.

"I request other mothers to make such appeals to their sons asking them to follow Khan's footstep," Director General of Police S P Vaid told PTI over phone from Jammu.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that at the end "mother's love has prevailed".

In a series of tweets, she said:

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also termed the return of Khan as "good development" and expressed hope that he would resume his normal life soon.

First Published: Sat, November 18 2017. 10:23 IST