Midoora, Tral: It was a freezing evening in Kashmir on January 14 last year when Mudasir Ahmad Khan, an electrical technician with a telecom company was asked to report for duty.
A tower in nearby Awantipora town had developed some issues and Khan left to fix it.
A resident of Midoora, a nondescript hamlet is South Kashmir’s Tral Town, Khan didn’t return till dinner time. He told his father, Farooq Ahmad, that he had got some more work and would stay out for the night.
According to Ahmad, the family had just finished their dinner when the police showed up at their door asking for Mudasir.
They left after searching Mudasir’s room and the rest of the house. Without disclosing any information, the police directed Ahmad to get his son to the station in the morning.
Ahmad, who didn’t want to disturb Khan in the night, called him in the morning only to find that his phone had been switched off.
The family then started reaching out to his friends and visited his colleagues, who only told them that Khan had left after a midnight assignment and didn’t return after that.
Ahmad started on a search for his son but returned discouraged after four days. He then went to the police and lodged a missing complaint.
A few days later, everyone in Midoora was shocked to see pictures of Khan with two AK-47 guns, a signature gesture used by local militants in Kashmir to announce their joining.
A graduate and a trained electrician, who was the lone breadwinner of his family and would spend free time playing cricket, became one of the formidable Jaish militants in the Valley.
Forces said he was the “main conspirator” of the deadly February 14 attack on CRPF convoy in which 40 personnel were killed. Khan was killed along with two associates in an overnight encounter last weekend in Pinglish, a village in Tral town.
Mudasir: A dedicated son and a formidable Jaish militant
Born into a poor family, Khan’s father, a farmer, could hardly provide him and his brother with any luxuries but did everything to get them a proper education. However, Khan was always keen to find a good job and help his family.
“Soon after he passed Class 10th examination he started applying in the police,” said Ahmad. Sitting in a room packed with mourners, the father recalled how Khan used to practice and exercise days before he had to appear in a police recruitment rally.
“He applied for a police job more than a half a dozen times. Every time he was hopeful of getting the job but his name was never in the final selection,” Ahmad told News18.
He stopped applying to the police when he asked his father to give him Rs 1,50,000.
“He came to me and asked if I can give him one lakh fifty thousand. Someone had told him that he had performed very well in the police test and he would get selected if he pays the amount to the person,” recalled Ahmad. “I said no. I hadn’t any money.”
Since then he never applied for a police job but did a bachelor’s degree and then took up a year training course in electronics and soon started a job in a telecom company.
He would support his family—his father, ailing mother and a younger brother, who is a student.
Khan’s friends recall him as a gentleman who was popular in the village for his cricketing talent. An all-rounder, he had won a number of trophies in local tournaments.
Khan was also jokingly reffered to as John Cena as he bore a close resemblance with the American wrestler.
That is, however, just one side of his story.
After shocking everyone by joining the militancy Khan became a wanted man.
“Khan quickly rose in the ranks of Jaish. He was the man who replaced Noor Trali,” a police official said.
A four feet tall man, Noor Trali whose actual name was Noor Mohammad Tantray, was Jaish-e-Muhammad’s divisional commander and was killed in December 2017.
Trali, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Delhi was on parole when he joined Jaish. He was the main recruiter and is said to have revived Jaish by recruiting young boys into the militancy and preparing them for suicide attacks.
Before joining the militant group, police officials said that Khan was working as an over ground worker for Trali and was pivotal in providing information which helped Jaish carry out several attacks.
“He was working in a telecom company and would travel around Tral and Awantipora frequently during the day. He had also got an understanding of the deployment of forces on the highway,” said a police official.
Khan’s father said that he returned home a few months after joining the militancy. “I asked him to shun the gun and return home but he rebuked me and left,” recalls Ahmad.
After that, Ahmad said, he met his son only twice and Khan would always tell him that the a shoot-at-site order has been issued against him at the time when the police had raided his house.
“My son would have surrendered to the police day after they raided our house but they had already conveyed to him, which is why he joined the militant ranks,” believes Farooq Ahmad.
The only regret, Farooq has is not being able to talk to his son for the last time. “When we got news of him being trapped in the gunfight we were awake all night waiting for his call. But he didn’t call,” said Ahmad.
Militants in Kashmir, lately, while trapped in a siege have been calling their families and asking for forgiveness. These sensitive audios have also been widely shared on the internet.
Ahmad’s body was charred beyond recognition and it was only after a doctor told the family that he is their son that they claimed his body. The result of a DNA test is yet to come.
Forces have launched a massive hunt for the Jaish militants in the valley post February-14 attack. In 21 days 18 militants, 14 of them from the Jaish-e-Mohammad, have been killed in the valley.
Lt Gen K J S Dhillon, General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, addressing a joint press conference after the Tral gunfight said, “Mudasir was the main conspirator of the attack on the Pulwama training centre (in 2017) and also the Pulwama convoy attack… He helped, coordinate the Pulwama convoy attack.”
Pictures of militants who have been killed recently have been put up on Mudasir’s house. A flag of Jaish is hanging on a Walnut tree and the tense silence in Khan’s courtyard only relents to the cries of Mudasir’s mother, Amina Begum.
Outside, Mudasir will be recalled as a top Jaish commander, but for Ahmad Farooq Ahmad and Amina Begum they lost a promising son.