He wasn't in the good books of Kashmiri resistance groups nor their Pakistani supporters, so the former carrom board champion was probably used by the Indian state to serve a purpose and then discarded.
Zakir Musa's killing is billed as a major blow to the armed rebellion in India-administered Kashmir, where thousands have come out on the streets in fresh anti-New Delhi protests.
In one case a father visits three graveyards to offer prayers for his son. In another, a broken tooth became the only way to identify a slain rebel.
Kashmir is one of the most militarised regions in the world. As it holds elections in three phases to avoid potential clashes, some soldier-guarded polling stations are recording as few as 25 people turning up to vote.
The Indian state has imposed a partial ban on a vital highway connecting the north and the south of the disputed territory ahead of Indian elections, making life even more difficult in an already contentious region.
While warmongers beat their drums, it is ordinary Kashmiris clustered around the Line of Control, wedged between two nuclear-armed regional rivals, that face the gravest of dangers.
Last week 20-year-old Adil Ahmed Dar rammed an SUV full of explosives into a convoy of Indian paramilitary forces in India-held Kashmir. His family paints a picture of a family man who was changed by Kashmir’s unending conflict.
Former Indian army commander, Lt Gen DS Hooda says India may launch "some kind of limited strike [against Pakistan], but calls for settling "issues once for all," after at least 44 Indian paramilitary troops were killed in Kashmir suicide attack.
Indian police said troops killed four Kashmiri rebels after a clash erupted during anti-India protests, as the region already reels from the deadliest year in a decade in which over 500 people have been killed.
At least 600 people in India-administered Kashmir, which includes Indian soldiers, local police and 160 civilians, lost their lives to violence.
Gun battle between Indian troops and Kashmiri rebels sparks protests in India-administered Kashmir where more than 550 people including 150 civilians were killed in 2018, deadliest year in a decade, according to a monitoring group.
Haseena's last phone call with her teen son Zahid before he died in a gun battle with Indian forces went viral when she did not stop him from the fatal fight. But she says, life in India-administered Kashmir is not as black and white.
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