Srinagar: Thirty-year-old Shakeel Ahmed Bhat is the face of almost every protest in Kashmir. Dubbed as 'Rage Boy' the world over, Bhat has become the poster boy of Muslim protests.
Shakeel’s new name and image could be blamed on the wire photographers who take a close-up of the bearded young man, with his eyes ablaze and fist gesticulating in a slogan shouting frenzy.
His picture has turned up so frequently that ‘spotting the Islamic Rage Boy’ has become a blogging pastime.
“Guess what? Islamic Rage Boy has been sighted again on the worldwide day of rage,” Snapped Shot, a blog dedicated to photojournalism blurted recently.
“I don’t work for the Hurriyat Conference. Irrespective of where the Muslims are harassed I protest in their support,” Shakeel said.
But Shakeel's face has become so familiar that his furious visage is itself now imprinted on T-shirts, sweatshirts, mouse-pads, magnets, and even tile coasters in the West.
However, Shakeel is not too pleased by his name ‘Rage Boy’ but remains unfazed. “This name is not right. My name is Shakeel Ahmed Bhat and I ask them to call me that.”
A former militant, Shakeel has served in jail for six years. He has more than 50 cases against him and spends around four months every year behind bars but Shakeel says he will continue what he does best – protest.