Saqib Bilal, 15, who acted opposite Shahid Kapoor in his hit bollywood film Haider, four years ago, met a tragic end as security forces killed him in an encounter in Srinagar’s Mujgund on Sunday. A football enthusiast, Saqib and his friend Mudasir Parray had reportedly joined Lashkar-e-Toiba after fleeing from his house on 31 August this year. Both were killed with a Pakistani militant commander, Ali Bhai in a 18-hour-long gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
On Wednesday, thousands of people attended his funeral in his hometown Hajjin in Baindpora even in rain.
Amid rains thousands of people attend last rites of slain millitant’s 14 year old mudasir Rashid and saqib Bilal in hajjin Baindpora. pic.twitter.com/zS1cDZnztI
— Sajad Hameed (@SheikhS57677840) December 11, 2018
Saqib, according to his parents, was a Bollywood and football enthusiast. A report by News18 said that aside from appearing in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider in 2014, Saqib had also taken part in a play in Kerala. He had passed his Class 10 exams with exceedingly good marks and was studying physics, chemistry and maths in Class 11. “He wanted to be an engineer. He loved football and acting. He would never talk about militancy or the conflict. His life was filled with his own adventures,” his grief-stricken father Bilal Ahmad Sheikh was quoted as saying.
On 31 August, according to one Umar, Mudasir was playing football in the Eidgah, when Saqib arrived and the two left. That was the last time anyone had seen them both. Saqib’s family frantically searched for him and even travelled to the militancy-torn south Kashmir, but they could not trace him.
“For more than a month, we went to places to find them. Ultimately, we realised the unthinkable,” Asim Aijaz, Bilal’s maternal uncle, was quoted by Hindustan Times. He added, “He had an interest in engineering. We could never understand why he joined. In fact, he left home on the day to buy some groceries. People had seen the two boys riding behind a third person on a bike.”
A week ago, a photo of both Saqib and Mudasir brandishing AK-47 surfaced on the internet, leaving the family members in a state of shock.