Anantnag: A rumour that Bashir Lashkari was still alive sent a surge of happiness among the thousands of people attending his funeral at Soaf Shali village in Kokernag area of Anantnag on Saturday evening. The happiness proved short-lived, just like the limelight Lashkari had garnered after police accused him of killing 6 policemen, including a Station House Officer (SHO), on June 16 this year.
Overnight, the police accusation made Lashkari a category A++ militant and fetched him a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head. This sudden popularity came right at the end of the 16 years of life that Lashkari, the son of a humble farmer, had given to the armed struggle against Indian rule in Kashmir.
The 34-year-old Bashir Ahmad Wani , alias Lashkari, was the eldest son of Ghulam Muhammad Wani of Soaf Shali village in Kokernag. Lashkari chose the gun at the age of 18 and crossed over to Pakistan for arms training. He returned the following year, only to be arrested by police. He was lodged in jail for several years.
“He was a tough nut, though. He picked up arms again after being released from jail,” a senior police officer told Kashmir Reader.
The officer said that Lashkari was arrested a second time in 2008 and was jailed for a couple more years.
As per police records, Lashkari’s tryst with jails continued between 2008 and 2015. He spent almost 3 years in jail after getting arrested in 2011 under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
“He was released in the latter part of 2014. His father was a happy man and decided it was time to get Bashir married,” a neighbour of Wani told Kashmir Reader.
Ghulam Wani purchased a passenger bus and thought his son would drive it to support his would-be family. “But his father died before any of that could happen,” the neighbour said.
Several months after his father’s death, Lashkari picked up arms yet again in January 2015. He remained an elusive figure since, coming to the forefront only recently, when he appeared in a video, issuing threats to policemen. His threats proved to be real, unlike those of many other militants who have appeared on camera.
If police are to be believed, the very next day Lashkari and his aides carried out the most deadly attack in recent memory on policemen, killing six. The Station House Officer of Achabal, Feroz Ahmad Dar, was among the slain policemen.
Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid accused Lashkari of “carrying out the gruesome attack.”
“Efforts to get information on Lashkari were increased manifold after that attack. They bore fruit today,” a senior police officer in south Kashmir told KR.
Lashkari’s body, soon after the rumours of him being alive died, reached Soaf Shali village, where thousands awaited. A funeral procession was in progress when this report was being filed.