The hands that picked up the AK-47 rifle in the late 1990s to join 'Jehad' against the Indian state are now hoisting the national Tricolour on the rooftop to salute "Mother India" on the auspicious occasion of Republic Day.
Sher Khan, once a dreaded terrorist of the Pakistan and Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehadi-Islami (HuJI) terror outfit, is now a changed man as he ultimately realized Pakistan-based mentors were just exploiting residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
"That was the darkest period of my life. Influenced by the vicious propaganda of the enemy, I joined the HuJI outfit in the late 1990s and became an active member of that terror group", Sher Khan told The International Bussiness Times over the phone from the Mughal Maidan area of Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district.
"Hands that picked up guns to become terror are now installing the national flag to give a message to people of Jammu and Kashmir", he said, adding, "after realizing my mistake I am ready to sacrifice my life for the nation".
A native of village Segdi Batta of tehsil Mughal Maidan tehsil of Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir Sher Khan, 45, had joined the terror group in 1998 when terrorism was at its peak in the Chenab region of Jammu province.
"After realizing that I was on the wrong path, I along with some other members of my group surrendered before security forces to live a peaceful life as a citizen of India", he said.
Sher Khan appeals to misguided youth to shun the path of violence
"On the auspicious occasion of the Republic Day of the country, I am appealing to all misguided youth to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream to live a peaceful life", he said.
"My spoiled life is a glaring example for them. Nothing could be achieved by adopting the path of violence. It is the right time for all misguided youth to join the mainstream", he said.
Seven dreaded terrorists of HuJI had surrendered in 2007 in the Awantipora area of Kashmir Valley. After spending 13 years in different jails of Jammu and Kashmir including Kot Bhawal, Kathua, Udhampur, and Kishwar, Sher Khan was finally realized in 2020.
Khan recalled that when he joined terrorism he was very young. He regretted that he spoiled his life due to Pakistan's sponsored terrorism.
"I was misguided to the terrorism. Now I am ready to do anything for the nation. I will never betray my country", he said.
Earlier family members of terrorists hoisted national flags during the "Har Ghar Tiranga" campaign
Earlier in August 2022, family members of the absconding or active terrorists hoisted national flags on the rooftops of their houses in different parts of the Doda, Kishtwar, and Ramban districts of Jammu province.
The Tricolour was hoisted by family members of some terrorists who are reportedly operating from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) or other parts of Pakistan.
Families of these terrorists also appealed to them to return and surrender before the security forces.
Family members of Khubaib, a self-styled commander in the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit, had hoisted the national flag at their residence in Jammu and Kashmir showing their love and respect for the nation and hatred for Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
Khubaib's family is living in the Doda district. LeT terrorist Khubaib had sneaked into Pakistan years ago and joined the terror outfit never to return.