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Brothers in arms and blood

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Shafi Shergujri stayed defiant to the end; Younger brother Adil was also killed in encounter in 2015
(Rising Kashmir) - Four-year-old Aadila, her mother Dilshada and younger brother took turns to make emotional appeals to her father, Shafi Shergujri to lay down arms and surrender before the government forces, but to no avail.

“I prefer to fight valiantly and die than to surrender,” is the answer they got from Shergujri, who was holed up inside a three-room house while his friend and fellow militant Jahangir Ganaie lay dead in the courtyard.

The encounter had erupted in Padgampora village of Awantipora in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

In an attempt to flee, Jahangir jumped out of a window, while he fired at government forces, and was shot dead soon after.

Shergujri kept exchanging fire halting briefly when his family, including his wife, children and parents were brought in by the army to try and persuade him to surrender. 

The family left, dejected, with tears in their eyes for they knew what was in store for them now.

Following that a village elderly was also sent in to talk Shergujri into laying down arms. Everybody failed and Shergujri was eventually killed.

The Shergujri family of Banderpora in Kakapora area of Pulwama is, however, not unfamiliar with such situations.

In 2015 their younger son Adil Shergujri was killed in an encounter with government forces in Lelhar area of Pulwama district. 

Two civilians, including a girl were also killed during the encounter.

Described as the humblest and gentlest souls by their neighbors, the Shergujri brothers bore a huge impact of the events that unfolded in the year 2010 in Kashmir valley.

More than 120 people were killed during protests which erupted following the infamous Machil encounter.

“Gun is the only solution in Kashmir. We need to fight the tyranny and we can’t fight with bare hands,” a friend of the brothers quoted them saying in 2010 on the condition of anonymity.

Adil joined Lashkar-e-Toiba in late 2010 and for around a year his elder brother Shafi Shergujri kept supporting him over ground.

“Shafi was picked up multiple times by police before he decided that it was time for him to pick up arms as well,” said one of the family members.

The Shergujri brothers were often spotted together in the years to follow before Adil was killed.

As per police sources, they were considered to be close associates of slain Lashkar commander Abu Qasim.

“The elder Shergujri was a close associate of present Lashkar chief, Abu Dujana,” sources told Rising Kashmir.

On Thursday evening, Aadila, probably unable to comprehend what had befallen the family, clung to her mother as thousands reached their home to have a last glimpse of Shergujri.

He will be buried besides his younger brother, Adil, at their ancestral graveyard.