Mujgund (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Dec 13 (ANI): Saqib Bilal Sheikh survived a blast in 'Haider' but failed to get through a gun battle with security forces on Sunday in Srinagar's Mujgund.
Saqib, who was among the three militants killed in the gunfight, had featured in Bollywood 2013 film 'Haider' for a brief role.
"Yes, he worked in the film 'Haidar'. But it wasn't the main role it was just a 'chocolate boy' role," confirmed Asim Aijaz, maternal uncle of Saqib who lives in village Hajin in Bandipora district in north Kashmir.
Speaking to ANI, Hajin elaborated: "Actually, there was a scene at Amar Singh College in which there were many children. Suddenly a bomb blast took place and Saqib's character was of the lone survivor in that blast. That was the scene. It was just a 15-second scene."
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, the film focused on how common Kashmiri residents get caught in the never-ending battle between terrorists and security forces in the Valley.
The 17-year-old had passed his 10th standard examination in 2017 and was a theatre artiste.
'Haidar' wasn't the first time he had shown interest in the entertainment world.
Saqib had been part of many local theatre dramas. "He was in school when he was first cast in a children's drama called 'This is the way'. His play was showcased in Srinagar and Odisha."
Going down the memory lane, Aijaz recalled: "He was a beautiful and talented child. He was fond of music, dance and acting. He used to be the life of all weddings in our village... . In my own wedding, he played Kashmiri Matka and sang Kashmiri songs all night long."
Saqib along with his 14-year-old best friend Mudasir Rashid Parray went missing from home in August.
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.
Apparently, after joining militancy, Saqib returned to his village many times. He even met some of his friends during his visit, said Aijaz adding that he however never tried to reunite with his family.
"None of his friends told us about his visits, maybe because they were scared of him. He had a gun with him," Aijaz said.
"The DSP of the area had promised us that they would let us speak to Saqib if ever they caught hold of him. We wanted to ask him what was it that made him choose this path. We always fulfilled all his needs and demands. We wanted to understand what forced him into taking up a gun. But that never happened," he said.
On Saturday, an encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists in Mujgund area in the outskirts of Srinagar city. On Sunday the gun battle ended killing three terrorists and one of them was Saqib. The two others were identified as Mudasir Rashid Parray (Saqib's best friend) and Ali.
Later, police officials said that terrorists fired upon security forces when they were conducting search operation after cordoning off the area following inputs that some terrorists were hiding in the area. (ANI)