By Raashid Hassan
Shopian: Four rounds of funeral prayers were offered to the 25-year-old slain Hizbul militant Farooq Ahmad Hurrah at his ancestral Nazninpora village in district Shopian on Monday.
Despite police and army checkpoints at many places to prevent people from going to Naznipora, thousands of mourners arrived for the funeral of Farooq Ahmad. He was laid to rest amid loud pro-freedom, anti-India and election-boycott slogans.
A family member said that Farooq Ahmad left home in 2015 to escape constant interrogation and harassment by government forces. “Farooq left home in 2015 because the army was after him. After some months, we heard that police had caught a militant in Keller area with a pistol. He turned out to be Farooq. He was in jail for more than three months, but then he was acquitted of the charges of militancy against him. After his release from jail, Farooq started a walnut business. In October 2016, he again left home and we were unaware of his whereabouts since then,” the family member said.
Farooq’s mother, Zaiba Banoo, was wailing for the loss of her younger son after the body was taken away for burial. Zaiba had lost her husband when Farooq was eight years old. Mohammad Ameen Hurrah, another rebel from the family in the 1990s, was killed by government forces at Kathawalan village of Shopian in 1995.
A childhood friend of Farooq told Kashmir Reader that his friend was everything to him.
“In 2015 when he was arrested for being a militant, many a time I asked Farooq if he had joined militant ranks. Every time he replied, ‘No, I was not with them. Police have just labelled me a militant. I was hiding because of the threat of torture from the army,’” the friend said.
Aijaz Ahmad, a local, said, “In October 2016, there was talk in the village that Farooq was not at home from 15 days and maybe he had joined militant ranks. It was true. He had joined Hizb ranks in October 2016.”
One of Farooq’s friends from the village told Kashmir Reader that Farooq was a friendly and pious person. “The whole village remembers him for his enthusiasm, friendly attitude and hard work,” Ahmad said.
The body of Farooq had multiple gunshots on the face. “The police killed him in a barbaric manner,” a mourner said on the loudspeaker at his funeral.
Farooq has left behind his mother, elder brother, and brother’s son and wife. His brother earns the family bread with daily wages for work in local orchards of different people.
When contacted, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shopian, Tahir Saleem, refused to comment on the slain militant. “I don’t know since when Farooq was active. I am in a meeting at this time,” the SSP said on phone.
Another militant from the village, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, was killed on May 16, 2016, in a night-long shootout in an apple orchard at Pehlipora village in Shopian.