A day after a missing Srinagar youth was said to be a slain militant on social media, the family on Monday held a peaceful protest and denied his involvement in militancy.
Carrying placards which read “no connection with militancy”, the family members of the missing youth, Hilal Ahmed Dar, a resident of Srinagar’s Bemina, appealed to the Jammu & Kashmir administration and the police “to step up the search for him”.
“Our son is innocent. He has no militant connection or any other link. We request the security agencies to help trace our son,” said his uncle Nisar Ahmed.
According to the family members, Dar, who was pursuing a doctorate degree from Kashmir University, was reported missing after he left home for trekking on June 13 in central Kashmir’s Naranag-Gangbal stretch.
“Dar was also working in a private company in Gurgaon [Delhi] and had returned home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those five youths, who were part of the trekking group, should be questioned,” the family demanded.
The family said they had a shock when Dar was said to be one of three slain militants in a Srinagar encounter with his picture circulated online.
“Fake news was circulated on Sunday. The family has not been able to eat a single morsel of food. We condemn those who spread the fake news,” the family said.
Dar’s brother Yasir said, “In case any security agency has picked him up, he should be released.”
A police official told The Hindu that a police team has been searching for the missing youth in Ganderbal after the family lodged a complaint.