Baramulla: Hizb militant Ashiq Ahmad Bhat, resident of Tantray Pora, Palhalan, was laid to rest in the martyrs’ graveyard of Palhalan on Tuesday afternoon. Ashiq’s body was handed over to his family on Monday night by the police. He was buried at about 12:30pm on Tuesday.
When the news of his death reached his native village in Palhalan, thousands of people, including women and children, took to the streets and held anti-India and pro-freedom protests. Some people played Azadi songs through the loudspeakers of different mosques in the area all night.
Family members of the slain militant said that Ashiq went missing in April 2014, after the police lodged dozens of stone-pelting cases against him and called him several times to different police stations. In the same year, Ashiq’s father, Gulam Mohammad Bhat, who worked as a driver at a saw mill, was beaten by government forces and was injured seriously. The family members said it was the government forces that pushed the 22-year-old to pick up the gun.
Ashiq passed his Class 10 matriculation exams in 2013 and a few months after that, he left home to join militant ranks.
Local sources in Palhalan said that on Tuesday, when people gathered at the house of Bhat, a large number of government troops reached the village and clashes broke out, with people hurling stones at them and the troops firing tear smoke shells. There was no report of any serious injury to anyone in the clashes.
A complete strike was observed in Palhalan through the day, with all shops and commercial centres remaining closed.
Internet services were suspended in Baramulla, Handwara, Sopore and Pattan areas throughout the day.