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Srinagar youth who ‘took to militancy’ returns, arrested


Srinagar: Police on Sunday arrested Ehtisham Bilal who had reportedly joined militant ranks of Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) in October.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Ehtisham’s family confirmed his arrest, saying, “Minutes after he reached home, a posse of policemen arrested him. He was bleeding from his mouth and was quite ill,” said his father Bilal Sofi.


A police statement however said, “With the help of family and police an individual (name withheld) has been brought back to the mainstream. Police investigation is on.”

A resident of Srinagar’s Khanyar area, Ehtisham, 23, was missing since 28 October, and had joined Islamic State inspired militant group in Kashmir.

In October, a purported and unconfirmed video circulated on social media, showed Ehtisham’s photograph with ISIS flag and him talking about how he was beaten up in Delhi.

His family had been continuously pleading for his return through media and social media messages since he had been missing.

On 4 October, Ehtisham was assaulted in clashes between two groups of students at Sharda University, where he was a first-year student of bachelors in Medical Imaging Technology (BMIT). He was beaten so severely that even blood oozed out from his nose and mouth, eyewitnesses had said.

After the incident he was left injured at a hospital, where his father had visited to see him. Later the father had returned after being assured by local authorities of his safety.

The news of his disappearance, however, had left the family shell-shocked and they knocked every door possible to convince him to return.

Pictures of family members with folded hands splashed in local newspapers with a request for Ethesham to return home “at least to shoulder the coffin of his parents” earlier last month had motivated the young man to approach his family.

His parents made passionate appeals to militant groups to send home their son. They stated “he is the only son in entire Sofi clan and should be allowed to join back his family.”

A senior police official rubbished the claims that he had been detained.

“We are human too. We support the parents of the young man. There is no case registered against him and he has been taken only for medical assistance required. The family members are with him,” the official said.