Multiple funeral prayers offered
Shopian: Heartbroken Shopian natives on Thursday received the charred bodies of two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in a four-hour-long gun-battle with government forces at the district’s Choiegund-Adoo village on Wednesday evening. The body of 17-year-old civilian Shakir Ahmad Mir, who was killed after a bullet hit his forehead, was also returned and was laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans at his ancestral graveyard in the nearby Kalanpora village of Shopian. Eyewitnesses said that thousands of mourners took part in the funeral prayers for the slain youth.
The two Hizb militants were laid to rest amid pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-militant slogans at their respective native villages. Emotional scenes were witnessed during the funerals with women beating their chests and showering the militants’ bodies with candies and flowers.
Slain militant Firdous Ahmad Lone, son of Abdul Rasheed Lone, resident of Ganowpora village of Shopian, was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Ganowpora. At least five rounds of funeral prayers were offered over the slain Firdous by around ten thousand mourners, including women and children, at a vast ground covered with walnut and apple trees. “Before Firdous’s funeral, the funeral prayers of Zahid Ahmad, a Hizb militant, and Adil Ahmad, a civilian, were offered last year at the same ground,” Bashir Ahmad, a local, said.
According to the police, Firdous was a category-B militant and was active since September 2016.
Family sources of Firdous told Kashmir Reader that before joining militant ranks, he was a government employee at the Department of Health who joined militant ranks after completing his 12th class. He was 22. Firdous has left behind his parents, two younger sisters and two brothers. His father is also a government employee.
Firdous’s charred body was wrapped in a flag. Eyewitnesses said pro-freedom slogans reverberated during the funeral prayers.
Sameer Ahmad Mir, son of Hilal Ahmad Mir, resident of Choiegund-Adoo village, was also laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in the village. Eyewitnesses said that around nine thousand mourners attended the funeral prayers amid pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and pro-militant slogans. Sameer, according to the police, was active since September 2017 and was a category-C militant.
Family sources said that Sameer was active from four months and nine days. They said Hilal Ahmad Mir, the father of the slain militant, is a landlord with about 32 kanals of orchard land. “He left his studies last year and took arms, he opted for the path of resistance without any pressure. Despite having all facilities and comforts available at his home, he picked up arms,” one of the relatives of the slain Sameer said. They said he was 18- years old.
Sameer has left behind his parents, two sisters, including one who received a bullet injury during the clashes on Wednesday, and a younger brother. Locals from the village said Sameer was a first year student when he took up arms.
Locals said that livestock was also killed during the encounter. “Thirty sheep, one cow and a calf were also killed in the encounter, some sheep are still buried under debris, we retrieved only 13 till now while 17 are still under debris,” said a relative of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, owner of the cowshed in which the militants were holed up after they fled a residential house where they had hidden. Locals said that Ghulam Hassan’s daughter was also injured in the clashes and had been referred for treatment to Srinagar.
With minor damages to three residential houses, a cowshed in which the militants were hiding was razed to the ground during the encounter.
Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian S A Dinkar told Kashmir Reader that one AK-47 and one INSAS were recovered from the encounter site. “The militants were affiliated to Hizb, Sameer was active since September 2017 and he was category-C militant while Firdous was category-B militant and he was active since September 2016,” he said.