ANANTNAG / Kupwara: Hizbul Mujahideen militant Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, who was killed during a nocturnal gunfight with government forces in Pahlipora village of Shopian district, was laid to rest on Monday amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Shiekh, who had joined militant ranks three months ago, was killed in the brief exchange of fire in an orchard.
This morning, as the news about his killing spread, a large number of people from dozens of nearby villages rushed towards his native village to participate in his funeral prayers.
Eyewitnesses said his body was carried to his ancestral graveyard amid anti-India and pro-freedom slogans by thousands of people, mostly youth. Several pro-freedom leaders who attended the funeral prayers of the slain paid homage to him in their speeches.
A complete shutdown was observed in Shopian township and other areas of the district as a mark of respect for the militant.
The government suspended mobile network in the district to what they said “stop the spread of rumors”. However, the network is suspended on such occasions so that the recordings of huge anti-state protests and large attendance of people in funerals of militants are not shared by locals with the rest of the Valley.
Shopian senior superintendent of police Shailendra Mishra said, “People usually resort to rumor mongering after the killing of militants. So the mobile network was suspended in some areas to stop the same.”
In another “gunfight”, an unidentified militant was killed by army in Kupwara district, officials said.
They said that army’s 16 Garhwal Regiment and 41 RR launched a search operation in Zunreshi forest areas along the Line of Control in Chokibal, Kupwara, around 11pm on Monday night and “noticed suspicious movement”.
The army exchanged fire with the militant whom they had challenged, officials said.
Since the area is remote and civilians have no access to such places, it could not be verified independently as to what exactly happened. In most such cases, police and army are the only sources of information.
On Tuesday morning, when army resumed the search operation they found the body of the militant. The body was handed over the residents of Marsari village. (with inputs from Mushtaq ahmad )