Saqib Bilal, who did a cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider and later joined Lashkar-e-Taiba, shot dead

Saqib Bilal, a class 11 student, who had made a special appearance in Vishal Bhardwaj’s highly acclaimed Haider in 2014, had reportedly joined the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. In an 18-hour long gun battle with the Indian armed forces, Bilal, along with another militant named Mudasir Rashid, was killed at Mujgund in the outskirts of Srinagar on 9 December.

As per reports, the two boys had left home on 31 August to buy groceries but did not return. Bilal had scored a distinction in class 10 and was studying physics, chemistry and math in class 11. His family is surprised as to why and how he joined militancy. 

“For more than a month, we went to places to find them. Ultimately, we realised the unthinkable. 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,” said Bilal’s uncle, Asim Aijaz, while speaking to Hindustan Times, a daily.  

Speaking about Bilal’s scenes in Haider, he 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.” He added that Bilal was also interested in theatre. 

A large crowd had gathered to pay their last respect to Bilal at his funeral on 11 December. 

Haider was an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the backdrop of the current state of Kashmir. The film told the story of Haider (Shahid Kapoor) whose surgeon father (Narendra Jha) is arrested and killed after he helps an injured militant. The film also starred Kay Kay Menon, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor.

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