Faisal Gulzar, the 16-year-old-boy who was killed in a gun battle in an orchard in Shopian on Sunday, is the youngest militant to have died in a counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir in recent memory.Faisal, the only brother among five siblings, was reported missing by his family on Thursday, 8 April when he had left home to bring grocery. His family had issued a passionate appeal to militants to stop him from picking up arms.“The first jihad for him is to take care of his four sisters and get them married. If you don’t return him, you will have to answer on the day of judgement,” his father, Gulzar Ahmad Ganie, had said, in an apparent appeal to militants.Faisal’s tragic end once again highlights the use of child combatants in the protracted violence in Kashmir.Three militants were trapped in the cordon. Family sources said Faisal made the last call to his father to inform him that he was among the trapped militants.“During the phone conversation, he sought forgiveness of his father and mother, and also told him that he was not going to lay down the arms,” a family member said, wishing anonymity.“We made sincere efforts and even got his family to the encounter site to convince him to surrender but his associates didn’t allow him to surrender,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told a local news agency.The other militant killed in the encounter has been identified as Asif Bashir Ganie, also a resident of Chitragam. The identity of the third was not immediately known. They were all affiliated with the Al-Badr outfit.