SHOPIAN: Tens of thousands of mourners from different parts of south and central Kashmir took part in the funeral prayers of four militants at their native villages in Shopian district on Saturday.
The bodies of Umar Malik and Waqar Aslam were buried at about 4pm at their ancestral graveyard in Malikgund village. Umar, according to family sources, was affiliated with LeT and was active since the past 18 months. He has left behind three brother and his parents. Family sources said that before joining militant ranks, Umar left a Bachelor’s course at Shopian Government Degree College and took admission in a private college for a nursing course. He also ran a readymade garments shop at Shopian town.
According to police, Umar was involved in several attacks on government forces. Villagers and family sources said that he had given the slip to forces in more than a dozen cordons, and he used to be the first militant to appear at funeral prayers and give gun salutes to his slain associates.
Umar’s killing is being considered as a big loss to the Lashkar leadership as in May this year the militant outfit lost three senior commanders in a gunfight with government forces at Badigam.
Waqar Aslam’s family was in shock ever since their lone son left home on July 15 never to return. Waqar’s father, Muhammad Aslam Sheikh, according to relatives is working as a section officer at the Srinagar secretariat. According to relatives, he had dedicated all his life to the education of his children.
A close friend of Waqar told Kashmir Reader that after completing a BSc degree, Waqar secured admission in a diploma course at Delhi’s Institute of Public Health and Hygiene. “After completing the diploma, he had recently got admission at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Punjab for a lab technician’s course. He had recently submitted Rs 74,000 to the university as semester fees,” the friend said.
Muhammad Aslam, the father, was in absolute shock while two of Waqar’s sisters had fainted at the news of killing of their lone elder brother. “I can’t say anything. We were hoping for his return, but not like this. The lamp of my house has gone out forever,” Muhammad Aslam said.
Relatives said that Waqar was 23 years old and has left behind three younger sisters and his mother and father.
Aijaz Ahmad Paul, who joined militant ranks three months ago, was the first militant of Al-Badr militant outfit whose photograph, brandishing an AK-47 rifle, went viral on social media.
Salah-ud-Din Bhai was the code name given to Aijaz, the same as that of United Jihad Council chief Syed Salah-ud-Din. His father, Abdul Rasheed, is a big landlord of Losedenow village and a businessman who is respected even in Delhi, according to villagers.
The villagers said that Aijaz has left behind two elder brothers, three sisters – two of them unmarried – and his parents.
“He first completed BSc, then got admission in a nursing course. After completing that, he was about to get admission to a master’s course. In the meantime, he had started helping his father run the family business and orchard affairs,” a close relative of the family said. He said that Aijaz was 22.
Arshid Ahmad Khan, son of Abdul Rasheed Khan, resident of Ganowpora village of Shopian, was taking coaching for engineering entrance exams at Srinagar, family sources said.
They said that he joined militant ranks of the LeT on April 16 this year.
A close relative of the family said that Arshid has left behind three brothers, two sisters, and his parents. He said Arshid was the youngest among the siblings.