Saqib Bilal, a theatre artist who had even done a brief role in Haider has been killed in an encounter in Mujgund, on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Saqib and another boy from class 9 were killed after an 18-hour gun battle with security forces on 9th December, as per a report in Hindustan Times. Both the boys had left their homes on August 31 and Bilal’s family is at a loss to understand why he joined militancy.
“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,” Asim Aijaz, Bilal’s maternal uncle, said.
“He was in his sixth class when he appeared for two brief shots in Haider which have appeared in the film. In one of the shots he appeared as a ‘chocolate boy’ and in another, he acted of surviving a violent incident in a bus,” Aijaz said.
The death of the two boys has triggered anger and grief in Kashmir. On August 31, Saqib's mother asked him to go to the nearby market to get some meat for lunch, and that was the last time the family saw him.
Saqib's family confirmed that they had no clue he had picked up the gun and turned to militancy.
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, Haider focused on how common Kashmiri residents get caught in the never-ending battle between terrorists and security forces in the Valley.