People raise pro-freedom, anti-India slogans, multiple funerals offered
Anantnag: Bodies of Lashkar militants lay draped in the Pakistan flag and thousands of people jostled to have their last glimpse in Kokernag and Arwini areas of Anantnag on Tuesday.
Showkat Lohar of Arwini and Mudassir Hajam of Daniwath area in Kokernag were killed late Monday evening in what the police described as a ‘chance encounter’ in Sheikh Mohalla, Wattergam area of Bulbul Nowgam, about 10 kilometers from main town Anantnag.
Another youth, Naseer Ahmad Bhat of Hakura-Badazgam in Dialgam area of Anantnag, was also killed in the ‘chance encounter’. While police maintained that all three were Lashkar militants, Bhat’s family has said that he was not a militant.
“The car they were travelling in was ambushed on specific inputs. They opened fire, which was retaliated. They were killed after a brief exchange of fire,” a senior police official said.
As soon as the news of the killings reached Arwini and Daniwath, songs of freedom were played on mosque loudspeakers. They continued to play through most of the night.
People assembled at the respective houses of the two militants and waited for the bodies to arrive. The bodies were handed over to the families at about 2am past midnight.
By 8am at Arwini, people in thousands had gathered at a local school ground that is located a few kilometers west of the national highway running through Bijbehara town. Soon, Lohar’s body draped in the Pakistan flag was brought in and placed over a makeshift podium for people to have his last glimpse.
Women and children also thronged the school ground, where pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were raised.
The women sang songs of martyrdom near Lohar’s body while children replicated the elders in raising slogans.
The first funeral prayer for Lohar was held at about 8:30am and then another at 10:30am.
In between, the crowd was addressed by several pro-freedom leaders including the chairman of Muslim Conference, Hurriyat Conference leader Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Muhammad Yousuf Makroo, and several senior leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Makroo in his address said that there was no place for terms like ISIS, Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Kashmir.
“Kashmir is a political dispute and all we want is to exercise our right to self-determination,” Makroo said.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Geelani also addressed the gathering over phone and laid stress over steadfastness to the cause. He also asked people to have faith in the leadership.
Lohar was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Arwini, following the funeral prayers.
The son of a blacksmith, Lohar taught at a couple of darsgahs before he took up arms in August last year, about a month after Burhan Wani’s killing.
His family said they had plans to make him pursue an Aalim-Fazil course at Deoband.
In Kokernag, five rounds of funeral prayers were held for Mudassir Hajam in Daniwath village, with thousands in attendance.
Geelani addressed the gathering over telephone and many local pro-freedom leaders attended the funeral. Mudassir’s body, too, was draped in the Pakistan flag.
The son of a barber, Mudassir worked at his father’s shop before joining militants in January this year.
Locals described him as a deeply religious boy who was always at the forefront of every anti-India protest.
“He had given the local Auqaf committee a thousand rupees a day before he joined militants. He asked them to make sure that he was buried in Daniwath and nowhere else,” a local source told Kashmir Reader.
Police sources say Mudassir’s name featured in FIR number 82-2017, pertaining to the killing of SHO Feroz Dar and five other policemen near Achabal in June this year.
“Being from the same area, he worked in close coordination with slain Lashkar commander Bashir Lashkari,” the police source told Kashmir Reader.
Amid pro-freedom slogans, Mudassir was buried at his ancestral graveyard in Daniwath village.