Sopore, Jan 08: The family members of a Sopore youth Manzoor alias Usmaan, who died in a 22-hour long gunfight in Lal Chowk yesterday, alleged that the highhandedness committed by the troopers during the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation prompted him to join the militant ranks. Manzoor along with another militant was killed in the Lal Chowk encounter. His body was brought to his home town - Peth Seer, Sopore on late Thursday night. Later, hundreds of people attended his Nimaz-e-Jinaza amidst pro-freedom, pro-Islamic and anti-India logans.Manzoor’s family claims that he joined militant outfit-Lashker-e-Toiba, one and a half year ago when the valley was up in flames during Amarnath land row agitation.“He was class 9th drop out and worked as a painter to sustain his poor family. During the 2008 Amarnath Land row agitation, he alongwith hundreds of people of the area participated in the protest demonstrations to express resentment over the transfer of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. On August 11, 2008, he joined the “Muzafarabad Chalo march” and saw the troopers firing on unarmed protestors, beating women and children,” said Manzoor’s uncle, Mohammad Akbar.He said the highhandedness and excesses committed by the troopers changed his mind-set and prompted him to join the militant ranks. His father, Ghulam Rasool said Manzoor used to frequently talk about the excesses committed by the troopers during the “Muzafarabad Chalo March”.“Manzoor used to offer five-time prayers and recite Holy Quran daily in the morning. One the second day of Ramdan he told us that he will join Tableegi Jamaat for some time. We allowed him for the sake of his happiness. However, I was aware about his intentions as his mindset has changed radically after Muzaffarabad March. After leaving home, he never returned. He had joined Lashkar-e-Toiba and we saw him with an AK-47 rifle after six months when he came to meet us,” said Ghulam Rasool.He said owing to intense pressure from security and intelligence agencies, they had urged Manzoor to surrender and live a normal life but of no avail. “The security agencies harassed me and my family members after Manzoor’s refusal to surrender,” said father of the slain youth. Manzoor’s mother Hafiza Begum, said she had a firm belief that her son is a martyr. “The death is inevitable but my son died too young. He was only 21 years old. It was the time when he could have enjoyed his life but alas he preferred death,” she mourns.The family said that they saw Manzoor two days before his death. “Two days before his death he came to home and met all family members and had a cup of tea. He refused to stay for a longer duration and told us that he has some urgent work and had to leave the place as soon as possible,” said his grandfather, Ali Mohammad.He said on Wednesday evening security forces came to their residence and informed them that Manzoor was trapped in an encounter in Lal Chowk. “They asked us for his contact number and told us that they will let us talk to him,” added grandpa of slain militant.