Saqib Bilal, a 9th grade student resident from Hajin Bandipora, Kashmir who had a little cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Haider' was shot dead. He was killed along with a Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba militant in an 18-hour gun battle with security forces in Mujgund on the outskirts of Srinagar on December 9.
He left home on August 31 and Bilal's family is at a loss to understand why he joined militancy. They looked everywhere and his mother even brought an amulet from a faith healer for her son's safety. Asim Aijaz, Bilal's uncle, said, "For more than a month, we went to places to find them. Ultimately, we realised the unthinkable." He further 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 J&K Police said the Bilal along with another boy joined militants immediately after they disappeared. The only reason Bilal's family could find was an encounter between militants and security forces a day before their disappearance in Hajin. "Some militants had been killed and people went to see the ruined place," Asim said. The death of the two boys is talked about a lot in Kashmir. "Before his Haider stint, he appeared in a stage show 'Weath chi Yeahi (This is the river)' at Tagore Hall in which he was the protagonist. He managed to get an award and even went to Odisha to repeat the performance," his uncle stated.