Anantnag: Amid a complete shutdown across Pulwama district on Tuesday, thousands of people reached the Eid-Gah in Pinglena village here to participate in multiple funeral prayers held for a Jaish-e-Muhammad militant and a civilian who were killed during a 19-hour gunfight on Monday.
The civilian, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, and the JeM militant, Hilal Ahmad Naik, were killed along with four army men, one of them a Major, a policeman, and two other militants — both Pakistani nationals.
The authorities termed the killing of the Pakistani nationals Kamran alias Farhad and Rashid alias Luqman as a major success as they were allegedly behind the Lethpora suicide attack of February 14, where 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
Also, during the gunfight 9 forces personnel including Commandant of army’s 12 Sector, Brigadier Harbir Singh; Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) south Kashmir range, Amit Kumar; a Lieutenant Colonel of the army; two officers of the Major rank and four other army personnel were injured.
Bodies of Bhat and Naik were handed over to their families soon after the gunfight, which also resulted in destruction of at least 4 residential houses in Pinglena village.
The bodies were kept at their respective homes for the night, where hundreds of people kept vigil till morning. A video of women wailing around Naik’s body at his home went viral on social media.
His mother could be heard praising his “heroics” during the gunfight while she repeatedly kissed Naik’s face.
Thousands started assembling in Pinglena village early Tuesday morning to pay their respects to the slain civilian and the militant — despite restrictions in the area and reduction of mobile internet speeds to 2G.
The funerals were held at the local Eid-Gah, first for the civilian Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat and then for the militant Hilal Ahmad Naik.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that two and four rounds of prayers were held for the slain men respectively, amid wails, tears and anti-India, pro-Pakistan and pro-Azadi sloganeering.