A day after officials of the Jammu & Kashmir Police said suspected militants had abducted a soldier in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, the soldier’s family said he had escaped after scuffling with militants who had barged into their home, but had returned a few hours later.
The soldier, Yasin Bhat of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI), is posted in Dehradun, and was at home in Qazipora area of Budgam on a month’s leave.
On Saturday morning, the Ministry of Defence spokesperson in New Delhi had clarified that the soldier was safe, and reports that he had been abducted were incorrect. Yasin’s family told The Sunday Express that three unidentified gunmen had entered their home on Friday night and tried to abduct him. But Yasin, helped by members of the family, had fought them off and run out, with the gunmen giving chase.
“Around 9 pm, men with weapons entered our house from the back. My daughters and other members of the family were inside. The militants attempted to take my son. He resisted, and there was a scuffle. Everyone started screaming,” Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Yasin’s father, told The Sunday Express at their home Saturday.
As members of the family rushed to open the main door of the house to call for help from neighbours, Yasin escaped. “My son managed to run out the front door and the militants chased him. I don’t know what happened afterward. Soon the entire village gathered at our house,” Bhat said.
Soon afterward, the J&K Police arrived. “Had he (Yasin) not escaped, we don’t know what would have happened,” Bhat said.
Manzoor Ahmad, Yasin’s maternal uncle, said the family had no information on the soldier for several hours after he ran out. “We were thinking he had been abducted. But he returned home unhurt between midnight and 1 am on Saturday. Around 4 am, he along with some family members left for the JAKLI centre in Srinagar,” Ahmad said. Members of the family said Yasin had joined the Army four years ago, and had come home on leave on Febuary 25. “I don’t know why they (militants) want to take my son’s life. My son has not done anything wrong,” Bhat said.
Several police officers in Budgam district had told The Indian Express on Friday night that the family had said that the jawan had been abducted by suspected militants. On Saturday morning, the Budgam SSP had issued a statement saying Yasin was “safe”.