Thousands attend funeral of slain militant in Patirgam

Ishfaq Reshi
Chadoora: Thousands of mourners on Sunday attended the funeral prayers of Younus Maqbool Ganai in Patirgam village of central Budgam district, where he was laid to rest. Around five thousand people participated in the funeral prayers of Ganai, reports said.
Ganai was killed, along with another non-local militant, during a brief gunfight with government forces near Hayatpora village in Budgam. A number of resistance leaders attended the funeral prayers. The general secretary of Hurriyat (G), Ashraf Sehrai, led the funeral prayers amid pro-freedom and anti-Indian slogans.
Chadoora and adjoining areas observed a complete shutdown on Sunday following the killing of two militants on Saturday in Hayatpora.
Before joining militant ranks, Ganai had a chequered history with Special Operations Group of Police and Army’s Rashtriya Rifles. He was named in the burning of two vehicles on September 7, 2013. Family claims that the vehicles – a SUV (Tavera) and a small car (Maruti 800) – were provided by police to a group for collecting information about militants in Budgam district.
Ganai went into hiding for three weeks after the incident, while his father was detained at the SOG camp in Humhama, Budgam, for 13 days. He was arrested by police and FIR 150/2013 was registered under sections 392 and 435. Police reported that some ammunition was recovered from Ganai.
Police sources said that Ganai’s activities were monitored after the killing of a police officer in Chadoora market in 2014. People close to Ganai’s family said that he was continuously harassed by government forces, “pushing him to join militant ranks”.
“He was detained under PSA for eight months in 2014,” said his father, Mohammad Maqbool Ganai. “I am a member of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and my house was raided several times since 2013. I have been in and out of police stations and SOG camps during this time.
Maqbool told Kashmir Reader that his son was released when government decided to revoke many PSAs before the elections in 2015. “I opened a small shop for him in the village and to keep him busy. He also started his fruit business,” he said.
Trouble returned to Ganai family during the 2016 agitation when the father-son duo was detained a few times. “He was asked to report to Army camp (53 RR) in Nagam,” the father said. “One day, (13 March 2017) he left for Jammu and never returned”.
Zahoor Ahmad, a neighbour, said that the village came to know about him joining a militant group when “we saw his picture with AK-47” on social media. “He knew his end will be death,” another villager added.