Sopore: People stayed awake the whole night in Brath village of Sopore so that at the first ray of light they could begin gathering for the funeral of Toib Majeed Mir, a young militant from their village who was killed in a gunfight with government forces on Monday evening.
The body of Toib was kept at his home during the night, after the government forces handed it over late in the night. Even amid the chilling cold and the heavy deployment of government troops on all entry and exit points of Brath village, mourners began arriving at Toib’s home in numbers that swelled with each passing minute.
The 25-year-old Toib, son of a fruit businessman Abdul Majeed Mir, joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in June last year. He left home with the excuse of going to visit the family orchard, said a cousin of Toib, requesting that his identity be kept secret.
Toib was a simple boy, the cousin said. He would not interfere in anyone’s affairs and spoke little when outside his home. “We didn’t believe that he had joined militant ranks. Later, through the police, we came to know that he had joined militancy,” the cousin said.
Toib had passed Class 10 exams and become involved in his family’s fruit business. “There was every facility available for him at home: a bike, a four-wheeler, a tractor; we are still not aware of the reason why he joined militancy,” the cousin said.
Toib was one of seven siblings. He had three brothers and three sisters.
When the body was taken out from home, on a wooden bed and with a green flag and some blankets covering it, a piece of black cloth was wrapped around the forehead. It had the words ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ written on it. The thousands that had gathered at Toib’s home, including women and children, jostled for a glimpse of his face. When the body was lifted to be taken for burial, women showered it with candy and flowers from the windows of their homes.
The funeral procession went through the lanes of the village with youth crying, shouting and saluting the martyr. Slogans of “Moosa Moosa, Zakir Moosa” and “Tum Kitne Toib Marogey, Ghar Ghar Se Toib Nikleyga” echoed in the village.
The procession of men, women and youth went to the playground of the government middle school in Brath village. Here the funeral prayers were said. The ground was packed to the brim.
The majority of the people had reached Toib’s home so early that it was unlikely they had had any breakfast. It did not prevent them from raising loud energetic slogans for Azadi and in honour of Toib. Hundreds of people were trying to record the scenes on their mobile phones, though the cloudy day and dim sunshine was obscuring the pictures.
The slain militant was laid to rest in the local martyrs’ graveyard of Brath village. The mourners walked back to Toib’s home to once again pay their respects to the family.