Gun salute, thousands in attendance at funerals of Shopian militants

Gun salute, thousands in attendance at funerals of Shopian militants
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Former SPO Showkat Ahmad came from well-off family, his father a senior PDP worker

SHOPIAN: Militants offered gun salute and civilians raised the Pakistan flag at funerals attended by thousands of people of two Shopian militants who were killed by government forces in an encounter at Gadapora village on Friday.
Six-day-old militant Yasir Ahmad Shah and former special police officer (SPO) Showkat Ahmad, who had decamped with a rifle from Shopian police station last year, were buried in their ancestral graveyards at Arhama and Harmain villages in Shopian district on Saturday.
Thousands of people took part in the funeral prayers of both militants amid pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan, pro-militant and anti-India slogans. Eyewitnesses said that many people raised aloft the Pakistan flag. They said several militants appeared at the funerals of both Yasir in Arhama and Showkat in Harmain, firing gunshots in the air as a salute to their fallen associates. Witnesses said people were seen kissing and hugging the militants when they appeared at the funerals.
Yasir and Showkat were killed after a 15-hour counter-insurgency operation by a team of government forces comprising army, paramilitary and police. Six residential houses and three cowsheds were reduced to rubble during the encounter that took place at Gadapora village in Shopian district. Seven cattle were also burnt to death during the encounter, locals said.
Yasir, according to family sources, was missing since a week from his home. They said nobody among them was aware that he had joined militants.
Family sources said that Yasir had finished studying a Molvi course in a religious seminary some months ago. He was at home since a couple of months after that.
Yasir has left behind in his family two elder brothers, two sisters, and his parents. His father, Hussain Shah, works as a labourer.
Showkat Ahmad, son of Abdul Majeed, had decamped with a rifle from police station Shopian on August 25, 2018. He had got an SPO’s job during the 2016 public uprising in Kashmir. His father is a senior worker of the mainstream People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and is into fruit business.
Showkat has also left behind two brother, two sisters, and his parents. He came from a well-off family. His elder brother is into fruit business and his younger brother is studying at Sainik School in Mumbai. Among his two sisters, one is married while the other is an employee at the state government’s Social Welfare Department.