Huge gathering chants pro-Lashkar and Azadi slogans, mourners visit grave throughout the day
Hajin (Bandipora): A Pakistani militant was on Tuesday buried in Bandipora’s Hajin area with thousands of people offering his funeral prayers. Local sources said that the militant’s body was kept by his associates at the graveyard in Khos Mohalla, during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. The militants who left the body fired a volley of bullets in the air to pay him homage as well as to draw attention. Locals picked up the body in the morning and hurriedly arranged a burial in the local graveyard, so that government forces could not take the body away.
The locals identified the slain militant as Abu Haris, a Pakistani militant active in the area for long. According to police, he had sustained a gunshot injury while making an escape from the cordon laid in Hajin’s Bon Mohalla on Monday. Two other militants had escaped the cordon along with him.
Despite the hurried arrangements, people gathered in thousands. The funeral looked like that of a local militant. Government forces have not allowed public funerals in Kashmir of foreign militants since 2015, when massive crowds thronged to the funeral of Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Abu Qasim, a Pakistani. Foreign militants have since been buried by police in a new graveyard established at Gantamulla in Baramulla.
The huge gathering at Hajin kept shouting pro-Lashkar and Azadi slogans as the funeral procession marched ahead. The funeral prayers were offered at the Khos Mohalla Eidgah. Women were seen singing eulogies and youths wept when the body was lowered in the ground.
After the burial, the grave was decorated with flower garlands and the Pakistan flag was hung above it. Groups of women, men and children kept visiting the grave from different villages. Some broke into tears while others took photos with their phones. Many simply offered a prayer.
Many children were witnessed showering flower petals on the grave. Visitors even took some soil from near the grave. Five rounds of in-absentia funeral prayers were offered after the burial had taken place.
To pay homage to the foreign militant, Hajin remained shut for the whole day. The authorities had suspended mobile internet services for a few hours following the militant’s death.