SHOPIAN: His school uniform was put on his corpse before Umar Abdullah, a Class 9 student, was buried amid grief and anger at his native village of Pinjora in Shopian district. According to eyewitnesses who were accompanying Umar to Turkwangam where a gunfight between militants and government forces was underway on Wednesday evening, Umar was shot at by government forces some 700 meters away from the encounter site.
“There were two bullet marks on his body, one on the neck and the other on the chest. He succumbed soon after he was hit by the bullets,” one of them said. He said that Umar had run to an orchard in nearby Darazpora village to escape from the massive teargas and pepper smoke near the encounter site, when government forces fired bullets at him.
Family sources told Kashmir Reader that Umar’s father, Abdul Ahad Kumar, died in November 2016 after five months of illness. They said that Umar was one among nine siblings, three of his sisters married and one sister physically challenged.
Elder brother of Umar, Muhammad Ashraf, told Kashmir Reader that Umar was brilliant at studies and used to spend his winters with the Tableeghi Jama’at for the past three years. “He was a shy boy and used to offer prayers five times a day. He used to wake up before me for the Fajr prayers,” Ashraf said.
Emotional scenes were witnessed during the five rounds of funeral prayers held for the boy. Women and Umar’s classmates were seen crying, beating their chests, and wailing.
In the morning, when Umar’s friends shouldered his coffin, dozens of women fell unconscious and every single person was crying after they saw the boys carrying the body. Umar’s elder sister came crying while holding the school shirt of her brother. The shirt was later put upon the body by local people.
Umar’s body was covered with Ahram (a cloth used for Hajj) of his brother, while the Pakistan flag was wrapped on his forehead. Pro-freedom, anti-India, pro-Pakistan and pro-militant slogans reverberated in Pinjora village.
Thousands of men, women and children from different parts of Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts attended the funeral. Umar was buried at about 10am.
Shopian Superintendent of Police Shailendra Kumar Mishra told Kashmir Reader that the boy was killed in “initial cross-fire”.
When told that locals were alleging that Umar was killed at Darazpora village, he said, “It is matter of investigation. There were massive protests everywhere and as per our knowledge, he was killed in cross-fire.”