Thousands offer funeral prayers of slain militants in Kulgam, Tral

Thousands offer funeral prayers of slain militants in Kulgam, Tral

Army soldier killed, 2 CRPF men wounded; several injured by pellets in clashes at night

Anantnag: Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, one of them a close associate of Pakistani national and Lashkar commander Naveed Jutt, were killed in a gunfight between government forces and militants here in Redwini Baala village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district Tuesday morning. An army soldier was also killed and two CRPF men were injured during the operation.

In a separate gunfight at Tral, a militant of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), the Al Qaeda “affiliate” led by Zakir Musa in Kashmir, was also killed in a gunfight with government forces in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday morning.

Several civilians sustained pellet injuries in clashes with government forces near the site of the encounter. “All of them are stable,” a health official in the district told Kashmir Reader.

The slain militants have been identified as Aijaz Ahmad Makroo, son of late Ghulam Rasool, resident of Qaimoh village of Kulgam; and Waris Ahmad Malik, son of Bashir Ahmad, resident of Arwini village in neighbouring Anantnag district.

Makroo was a part of the LeT since 2017 and was considered to be a close associate of Naveed Jutt. He was also considered to be close to the recently slain commander of the outfit, Azad Dada.

Waris Malik was in the ranks since 2016 and was also considered to be an important member of the outfit. The operation in Redwini Baala, as per police reports, was launched at about midnight on Monday.

“We had prior inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. The area was cordoned off and the house wherein militants were hiding was zeroed in on,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader.

The militants, he said, opened indiscriminate fire as the forces were approaching the house, leaving an army man injured – who later succumbed to his injuries. The army man was identified as Prakash Yadav.

“The cordon was tightened while retaliatory fire kept the militants restricted to the house they were hiding in,” the official said. “The militants were neutralised this morning.”

The house where the militants were hiding, as per sources, was reduced to rubble during the gunfight.

Local sources told Kashmir Reader that intense clashes erupted at about 2:00 AM in the area, minutes after the gunfight started, and continued throughout the length of the gunfight.

Several people were injured as forces fired pellet guns and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth.

The clashes stopped soon after the government forces left the area, along with the bodies of the militants.

“The bodies, after proper identification and other medico-legal formalities, have been handed over to the families of the militants,” the police official told Kashmir Reader.

The authorities snapped mobile internet services across Anantnag and Kulgam districts soon after the first exchange of fire. Restrictions were also in place at many places to prevent people from marching towards the villages of the slain militants.

Despite that, thousands reached these villages and attended the funeral prayers of the slain militants.

In Tral, the slain militant, Shakir Hassan Dar, son of Ghulam Hassan, resident of Rathsuna village in Tral, was once a close associate of slain Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

Body of the slain was handed over to the family later in the day. Within minutes, thousands of people reached Rathsuna, where several rounds of funeral prayers were held for the slain militant.

Sources told Kashmir Reader that the funeral prayers were held amid intense pro-Islam, Pro-Pakistan, anti-India and pro-Zakir Musa slogans.

The authorities, meanwhile, had curtailed mobile internet services in the area as soon as the gunfight began this morning.