Footballer, who joined LeT last week, surrenders

Footballer, who joined LeT last week, surrenders

Days after his photo carrying an AK-47 went viral on social networking sites, 20-year-old Majid Khan, who had joined the militants ranks recently, surrendered on Friday.

The development came after a tearful video appeal by his 50-year-old mother Ashiya Begum had gone viral on social media and netizens had urged Khan to quit militancy and return home.

Reports said that Khan, an ace footballer, surrendered before 1-Rashtriya Rifles of the army on Thursday night.

His mother had not eaten since last Thursday when Khan, the only child, disappeared suddenly.

A day later, his photograph surfaced on Whatsapp showing him posing with an assault rifle.

Khan was the first from Anantnag to join militants after more than a decade. He joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba after disappearing from his home early last week.

On Tuesday, his father, 59-year-old Irshad Khan, suffered a mild heart attack after hearing that his son had been trapped in a gunfight in Kulgam.

"I got a new lease of life. Now I can stand again on my legs and I got well," Khan told the media at his residence.

Soon after the news about Khan's surrender spread, Twitter and Facebook were flooded with messages of people welcoming the move.

"A mothers love prevailed. Her impassioned appeal helped in getting Majid, an aspiring footballer back home. Every time a youngster resorts to violence, it is his family which suffers the most," Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.

However, the chief minister said the choice to return home for the young militants "is not an easy one" because of the social stigma attached to "surrender."

Majid, a BCom second-year student, was also working with a humanitarian organisation, Mother Helpage, as a volunteer and emergency head before he suddenly decided to join militancy.

He was seen leading his militant friend Yawar Nisar's funeral on August 4.

"Just a week before Majid disappeared, I had a chat with him in my office. We discussed a football match which had to be organised in Anantnag," Sohail Nasiti, the CEO of Mother Helpage, told DH over the phone.

"He was very enthusiastic about his humanitarian work and during his stint in the organisation, he recruited dozens of volunteers from Anantnag," Nasiti added.

Security agencies believe that militant outfits were trying to "lure" youth from Anantnag.

"The movement of militants in the town in the recent past can be seen in the context of recruiting youth from the area in militant ranks," a police officer said.

"However, the surrender of Majid Khan is a good omen and we hope others, who have joined the militant ranks, will shun violence soon," he added.

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