Thousands attend funeral, militants offer gun salute
Three militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces on Sunday in southern Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Police claimed that the slain trio were involved in the abduction and killing of police constable MohdSaleem whose body was recovered on Saturday from village Ghat near Qaimoh. In a tweet Director General of Police SP Vaid said the militants were responsible for the constable’s killing.
Saleem who had been recently promoted to constable from SPO was abducted by the militants from his home in Motalhama village in Kulgam district on Friday night.
Soon after his killing a video had gone viral wherein the slain cop is heard admitting to the militants not in the frame about informing on them to the police.
The gunfight started at around 12:00 in the midnight after Army’s 1 RR, special operation group of Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF laid cordon of the Wani-MohallaKhudwani after receiving inputs about the presence of militants there.
“After extensive searches a contact was established with militants hiding in one of the houses. The exchange of fire started at 6:00 am and continued for more than two hours after which guns fell silent,” a police official said.
A source, however said that after using heavy explosives forces instantly set ablaze the three storey concrete house where militants were holed up.
“As the house was on fire, the militants came out in the compound which triggered firefight. However, after some time all three of them were killed,” he said.
The forces, while retreating, are said to have set ablaze a cow shed of another house-owner.
“The people instantly put out the flames or else the fire would have engulfed the entire locality,” said a villager Abdul Hameed.
A police source said that all three militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit.
He identified the slain as as Abu Muaviya of Pakistan, Mudassar Ahmad Dar of ShaliporaKatarsoo and Suhail Ahmad of Redwani village from Kulgam district.
A police official said that weapons and other incriminating material was recovered from the deceased militant.
Mudasir a Hafizi Quran and Suhail, a school drop-out had joined militant outfit only three and half months ago.
“We did not know that Mudasir has joined LeT,” his father Abdul Salam Dar told Greater Kashmir.
In these three months, no photograph of Mudasir announcing his entry into the militant outfit appeared on social media as has become the trend.
Suhail, on the other hand, had escaped along with two other LeTmilitants in a 24 hour long gunfight which had erupted in the same locality on April 11.
As the operation was called off by the forces presuming the militants might have died they had appeared from the same shed which was burnt in today’s gunfight and later armed with weapons had marched through the streets of Qaimoh and Khudwani as jubilant people cheered for them.
The forces that day had set three houses ablaze.
As the word about killing of three militants spread, people assembled and started protesting.
They threw stones at the forces deployed near bypass who responded with teargas shells, pellets and aerial firing.
There were reports of minor injuries to few protesters.
Kulgam district observed a complete shutdown to mourn the killing of militants.
The authorities snapped the internet services in Kulgam and neighboring Anantnag district.
FUNERAL AND GUN SALUTE
As the body of the local militants was handed over to their families, sea of mourners rushed to their native villages – Redwani and Katrasoo – for their last rites even as forces had sealed all major routes.
At least three back to back funerals were offered for the deceased militants amid pro-freedom and anti-India sloganeering.
The bodies of both the militants were draped in Pakistani flag.
At Redwani, the three militants made appearance at the funeral of Suhail and paid respects to their associate by offering gun-salute.
The militants also raised pro-Islam, pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans.
At Shalipora- Katrasoo five militants appeared and offered gun salute to Mudasir.
Fayazahmad, a mouner was injured after rifle of militant went off during funeral as people were jostling around to hug militants at Katrasookulgam. He received bullet injury in foot and is being treated at bone and joint hospital