//Harkat militant falls in love – and in custody

Harkat militant falls in love – and in custody

On the run for 5 years, Omar Bhai was preparing to take Valley bride home to Pakistan

SRINAGAR, JANUARY 19: On the run for five years, one of the most wanted in Shopian, a militant hotbed in the Valley, has finally been arrested. And if the police are claiming credit, they are also sharing it with an unusual source: love.

Harkat-ul-Mujahideen commander Omar Bhai, 25, was caught two days ago when his car was intercepted on its way to Jammu where he was going to prepare “travel papers” to return home with his 22-year-old bride.

Omar met Firdousa of Kral in Shopian a few years ago and fell in love. To get her parents to agree to the marriage, he vowed to give up arms and go back to Pakistan. They refused. For many days, eyewitnesses said, Omar roamed around Shopian, hair unkempt, clothes tattered. He even came to be known as the Tere Naam militant, a reference to the Salman Khan film where the hero in search of his love is beaten up and lands in a mental asylum.

Finally, Firdousa’s parents said yes and the nikaah was secretly held last month. That helped police close in on Omar. “News of the marriage spread and Rashtriya Rifles picked up Firdousa’s brother. The love story was confirmed,’’ said a police officer.

A few days ago, Omar left for Jammu with his wife, in-laws Bashir and Khalida to prepare travel documents to cross at Wagah. While returning after completing the formalities, their Ambassador was intercepted by police at Udhampur on Tuesday. Omar is now in police custody.