Anatnag: A complete shutdown was observed across Kokernag belt and some other parts of Anantnag district on Sunday to commemorate the first death anniversary of local Lashkar commander Bashir Ahmad Wani alias Lashkari.
Lashkari was killed during a gunfight with government forces, along with a Pakistani national, Abu Maa’z, in Breenthi village of Dialgam in Anantnag district.
Two civilians, one of them a woman, were also killed as government forces opened fire on people protesting near the site of the gunfight. Fifteen others were injured.
On Sunday, Nasheeds and freedom songs were played over masjid loudspeakers in Lashkari’s native village — Soaf Shaali in Kokernag — as people thronged his grave and his house to pay their respects.
The entire village and Lashkari’s grave was adorned with Pakistan flags, local sources said. “The Pakistan flag was spread on his grave and it was showered with flowers,” a local said.
People, in hundreds, thronged Lashkari’s home where only his younger brother lives now. Their parents had died when Lashkari was a young boy.
Shops and other commercial establishments remained closed from Dialgam — in immediate vicinity of Anantnag town — onwards and across the Kokernag belt.
Traffic too was very thin in these areas. There were no reports of any clashes.
Described as a category A++ militant by government forces, Lashkari joined Lashkar-e-Toiba during the late nineties, when he was only 18.
He soon crossed over to Pakistan for arms training and returned in 2001. However he was soon arrested and remained under detention for well over four years.
Lashkari, on his release, joined the outfit yet again and was arrested in 2008, only to be released in 2014. In 2015 he picked up arms, one last time, and rose to become the district commander of the outfit.
Police sources associate him with revival of militancy in Anantnag district and getting slain Hizb commander, Burhan Wani, acquainted with the territory.
In June 2016 the police alleged that Lashkari was behind the killing of a senior police official — then SHO Achabal Feroz Dar — and five other policemen during the month of Ramazan.
His name was associated with several other attacks as well in Anantnag district and elsewhere.
A bounty of 10 lakh rupees was announced on his head following SHO Feroz’s killing. Days later, he was trapped and killed in Breenthi village of Dialgam.