A group of militants appeared at Sunday’s funeral of a slain insurgent, Fayaz Ahmed alias Setha of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, and fired a volley of bullets in the air as a form of gun salute.
Militants had come to funerals of slain comrades in the past. But the latest incident followed Thursday’s anti-insurgency search with around 4,000 troops, helicopters and drones in south Kashmir’s Shopian district — the biggest combing mission against militants for more than a decade.
Photos of his funeral, which were shared extensively on social media, show at least four militants in a crowd of mourners and firing their automatic weapons.
An officer said police were trying to identify the militants.
According to south Kashmir deputy inspector general of police, SP Pani, the incident is being investigated.
The slain militant was wanted by the country’s counter-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA) and carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head. His name cropped up after the August 2015 Udhampur attack in which two BSF troopers and a militant were killed.
Another funeral was held in Kulgam on Sunday — that of 38-year-old J&K police constable Mehmood Ahmad Sheikh, who died bravely fighting the militants the previous evening even after being hit by a spray of bullets.
DIG Pani was among a large group of people from Pariwan village, which has a population of about 2,000, as well as those from adjoining areas who came to pay respect to the brave constable.
Sheikh was part of a police convoy that was on its way to the Mir Bazar area to clear traffic after a road accident on the national highway. The squad was ambushed by at least four militants, but the policemen retaliated and killed a militant and captured another.
“As the militants fired indiscriminately, civilians on the road got trapped too. Mehmood and his colleagues fought bravely. Their presence of mind and acumen saved a lot of lives, though Mehmood and three innocent civilians fell to militant bullets,” a senior officer said.
Sheikh is survived by his wife and two sons — the elder is 12, and the younger is barely eight months.
He was promoted from special police officer (SPO) in May 2016 to full-time constable in the force because of his operational capabilities. He showed exemplary courage and presence of mind during the ambush, as he snatched a pistol from a militant and killed him and wounded another.
The SPOs are hired in the troubled state to assist the regular police force.
(With agency inputs)