In a move reminiscent of early 1990s, a group of militants on Monday appeared in a village of south Kashmir to pay tributes to one of their colleagues killed in a gunfight with security forces on Sunday.
Locals said a group of militants participated in the funeral of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, Adil Ahmad, 24, who was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Bandarpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Adil was killed during an encounter with the police and army in Kakpora area of Pulwama on Sunday. It was during this encounter when security forces had fired at a group of villagers who were allegedly pelting stones on the security personnel near the encounter site.
Danish Farooq Mir, 20, who was pursuing BTech from Islamic University of Science and Technology and Shaista Hameed, 22, who was doing post-graduation in Urdu, both residents of Pulwama, were killed during the clashes. Police said that Shaista was killed while being evacuated from the encounter site. Police had said that two militants had managed to escape from the site due to heavy stone-pelting by locals.
The residents said when the body of the slain militant was brought to his native village, five to six armed militants, including Adil’s brother Shafat Ahmad, appeared in the village and participated in his funeral that was attended by a large number of people on Monday.
Some locals said a few rounds were also fired in the air by the militants.
A local news agency, CNS, quoting eyewitnesses, said the militants thanked people for helping them break the security forces cordon on Sunday.
“They (militants) didn’t allow people to take their videos on mobile phones and even sought support for the Kashmir cause,” the agency reported.
Adil had joined militant ranks about one-and-a-half years ago. “Adil’s joining created problems for his brother Shafat Ahmed and he was frequently ‘forced’ to present himself before the officers at different security camps. This made his life hell and some six months ago, he, too, joined the militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba,” the agency quoted the relatives as saying.
Senior superintendent of police Tejinder Singh told Hindustan Times that he was inquiring about the incident. “We have also received these reports and are verifying them,” he said.