Anantnag: Amid complete shutdown, thousands of people on Tuesday participated in the last rites of two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants at their native places in Arwani and Kokernag areas of Anantnag district on Tuesday.
Showkat Ahmad Lohar, (25) of Arwani and Mudasir Hajam, (18) of Danveth village of Kokernag were killed after army and police ambushed the car they were travelling in near Bulbulnowgam village of Anantnag tehsil. Rayees Ahmad Ahmad of Hakhoora-Badasgam village, in whose car the militants were travelling, was also killed in the brief shootout even as police claim that he too was a LeT operative and claimed to have recovered pistol from him.
Braving restrictions and heavy rains, thousands of men, women and children took part in the last rites of Showket Lohar, district commander LeT for Anantnag in Arwani and Muzaffar Hajam in Danvethpora Kokernag.
People raised pro-freedom slogans while most of the roads leading to Arwani like Arwani-Zainpora-Shopian Road, Arwani- Khudwani road and Arwani-Yaripora road were closed by government forces by erecting barricades and no one was allowed to move. However, people were seen marching on foot through paddy fields.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed the mourners telephonically during which he paid tributes to slain militants and appealed people to repose trust in resistance leadership.
Chairman of his faction of Muslim conference and senior Hurriyat (G) leader, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Tehreeki Hurriyat (Teh) leader, Muhammad Yousuf Makroo and Ameer-I Tehsil Jamat I Islami for Islamabad and Bijbehra also addressed the mourners. Five back to back funerals were offered for Showkat.
In Denwath –Kokernag also four back to back funerals were offered for Mudasir who was later laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans.
Showkat a category A militant according to police joined militant ranks in August last year after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani while Mudasir, a category B militant joined LeT ranks in January this year. Both were part of Bashir Lashkari’s group.
Lashkari was also killed along with his Pakistani associate early this month in Breenthi Batpora village of Dialgam barely few Kms away from Bulbul Nowgam. Both according to police they were involved in many attacks.
Showkat according to family and locals used to lead prayers in a local masjid and also teach in a Darasgah. “He was aspiring to go to Darul uloom Deoband,” said his father, Abdul Reham Lohar, a blacksmith by profession.
He said that he was picked up by army and SOG regularly in 2014 and 2015 and booked in cases related to militancy and stone pelting. Locals also seconded his version saying he was being harassed continuously. “He left home without informing us,” said Rehman
Showkat besides his parents is survived by elder brother, who works as a laborer in Ladakh and five sisters, one among them married. One of his sisters received bullet injury in her leg during last year’s summer uprising after forces fired on the protesters at Arwani. His cousin, Sheema, too was hit by a bullet and is bed ridden as her spinal cord got damaged.
Mudasir was a school dropout is survived by his father, Ghulam Muhammad Hajam, a farmer by profession besides mother Ziana Begum and five sisters and three brothers.
Only one of his sister and brother is married.
SHUTDOWN, PROTESTS ROCK ANANTNAG
Meanwhile, Anantnag district observed complete shutdown to mourn the militant killings. Shops and other business establishments remained closed and the movement of traffic was also affected in Anantnag town, Bijbehara town, Arwani and Kokernag areas.
Minor clashes erupted in Sherpora, Achajipora and Moominabad localities of Anantnag town and Dialgam.
Apprehending student protests district administration Anantnag announced suspension of class work in all schools and colleges. The mobile internet service in the Anantnag and Kulgam district was also barred.