Anantnag: Strict restrictions on public movement and snapping of mobile internet services could not stop thousands of people from reaching Handoora and Khangund villages of Tral to offer funeral prayers for two local militants killed by government forces on Tuesday.
The bodies of the two local militants – Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, son of Ghulam Nabi of Handoora, Tral, and Abid Maqbool Dar, son of Muhammad Maqbool of Khangund, Tral – were handed over to next of kin late Tuesday evening.
The bodies were handed over following intense clashes in Aripal area of Tral, where people assembled to claim the bodies.
Many people spent the night at the houses of the two militants in their respective villages, while others, in thousands, began thronging the villages from early Wednesday morning to take part in the funerals.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that at least 7 rounds of funeral prayers were held for Ishfaq in Handoora and more than 4 rounds for Abid in Khangund.
“Militants also appeared at the funeral prayers of Ishfaq and fired several rounds in the air to salute their fallen friend,” local sources told Kashmir Reader.
Ishfaq and Abid were buried in their respective ancestral graveyards.
Following the burials, people assembled outside the police station in Aripal and pelted it with stones. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse the crowd.
The clashes died down as the day progressed. No one was reported injured during the clashes.
A complete shutdown was observed across Tral during the day amid a heavy deployment of army, paramilitary CRPF, and police across the town and its peripheries.
Two Pakistani militants were also killed along with Ishfaq and Abid in the forest area of Laam in Tral on Tuesday. All the four slain militants belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), police said. The Pakistani militants, identified as Abid and Bilal, were believed to have infiltrated into the Indian part of Kashmir only a month ago. Their bodies were taken to Baramulla for a quiet burial.
Ishfaq and Abid:
Ishfaq Ahmad Khan was the first cousin of Abid Khan, an erstwhile commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen who was killed at his home in Handoora, following a fierce gun battle in which a Commanding Officer (CO) of the army’s 42 RR was also killed.
Abid Khan’s father is a police Head Constable. Abid’s maternal uncle was a militant as well.
In 2014, Ishfaq was arrested after he stabbed a policeman in Drangbal area of Tral and tried to snatch his weapon. He remained in jail for more than six months, as police described him as an Over Ground Worker (OGW) of the Hizb.
He joined Jaish ranks sometime in late 2016, following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Abid Maqbool Dar was still a teenager and one among the four sons of a police constable who is resident of Khangund village in Tral.
One of Abid’s brothers also works with the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Abid had recently got admission in a diploma course at a Srinagar polytechnic college, before he decided to shun education and join militant ranks.
He had joined militant ranks just over a month ago, 36 days to be precise.