We were thunderstruck when we saw your photo on social media holding a gun instead of a pen. Immediately, a sense of loss floated through our minds. We are yet to overcome the trauma of imagining you gone from our ranks and having joined the extreme side of our collective misfortune. It gives us unfathomable pain to even consider that you chose a path that is ridden with unmeasurable troubles and immense sacrifice. However, we are still prepared to believe that it is not too late for you to reconsider your decision. The damage could be undone with a little bit of thoughtfulness.
The media is projecting the career possibilities that a student as bright as you could have achieved. However, what is missing in these reports is the reason that may have pushed you to take an extreme step. Every one of us is well aware of the bloodshed that we have seen back home. Every one, in one way or the other, is a victim of this vicious cycle of violence. There are ways of protest that attract different persons differently. All of us know very well how you used to register your dissent against the state excesses in Kashmir. That was already the best possible way for people like you to contribute your part.
Regarding taking up the gun, there are as many viewpoints among your acquaintances as there can be. Within this huge spectrum, there are those who encourage and eulogise this path, but then there are others who out of their love, emotions, affection and concern for your well-being call you back. Your parents are obviously in the latter category. You may have already watched the video of your wailing parents. Their screams sent shivers down our spines. Don’t they even bring tears to your eyes? Don’t they deserve to be heard and their pleas taken care of? Even our Prophet encouraged people to serve their parents if they were alive. Taking care of them was pronounced as more rewarding than any other thing. Moreover, he used to prefer easier paths over difficult ones. We are sure you are not ignorant of that fact.
Political struggles in different parts of the world were mostly taken to their logical ends through non-violent means. The circle of violence revolves around its own axis; it has no open end. It is only through the process of dialogue that complex problems have been solved throughout the history of human evolution and conflict.
On one side, there are those who have no idea of your talent and, on the other side, people like us, who know you well, and trust that your talent could be channelised in a constructive manner. Your virtues of oratory, presentation, and debating were apparent to us. You could be an inspiration to our youth. You could participate in the reformation of our society. You could fill the lacuna in leadership that we always point to. You could directly address the people if you choose a non-violent path over the violent one, without burdening your conscience. You could be a valuable asset for all of us. None of us can come to terms with the possibility of losing you like this.
You are a leader and we hope you know what might be the implications of your decision on your alma-mater AMU, your fellow students and Kashmiri students in particular. Are you going to shatter our dreams like this? We too are the subjects of the same state for which you may have reached this extreme point. But there is always hope. There is hope that we will see a new dawn some day and we want you to be part of that. Please come back. We need you.
Your friends and well-wishers at AMU, Suhail ul Rehman Lone, Peerzada Mahboob Ul Haq, Javid Ahmad Ahangar, Mir Haseeb Abdullah, Showkat Mandloo, M. Ashraf Khawaja, and others.
P.S. We urge the state government to ensure the return of this budding scholar. We are hopeful that his safe passage home would be ensured without causing him any harassment. We also impress upon the state to introspect and revisit its policies that push our youth, with promising careers, to extremes. The talk of peace and prosperity is not in consonance with the policies that the state has adopted over decades. We also request civil society and different organisations to act as mediators in finding a lasting solution to this vexed problem.