Pulwama, Aug 02: A 17-year-old youth, who was injured near the encounter site in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, died Wednesday morning, taking the civilian death toll to two.
Akeel Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Gabarpora area of the district, breathed his last in the wee hours of Wednesday at SKIMS Soura where he was being treated for bullet injury in his chest. He was shot by government forces during the post-encounter clashes in Hakripora Newa Pulwama where two LeT militants, including the outfit’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana, were killed on Tuesday. Another civilian, Firdous Ahmad succumbed to injuries after being fatally shot by the forces near the encounter site on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, intense clashes erupted in Gabarpora after the news of Akeel’s death spread in the area. In four back to back funerals, thousands participated in Akeel’s final rites at his native village. Hundreds of youth fought pitched battles with forces deployed in strength since early morning. According to local sources, over a dozen youth sustained pellet injuries.
Hailing from a poor family, Akeel’s father, Abdul Majeed Bhat, was among the first youth to pick up arms in 1990s. He belonged to the Ashfaq Majeed group and was among the first two militants from Pulwama to join the militant ranks along with Raafi Khan, according to locals.
“Majeed sacrificed his everything by joining militancy during the initial years of armed struggle in Kashmir and was the face of JKLF here. He continued to remain affiliated with JKLF even after 1994, when his group laid down arms and vowed to carry on the struggle politically. Abdul Majeed used to run the office of JKLF group after 1994 in Pulwama and was known for his upright stance. He died a decade ago of natural causes. Today his son kept his father’s legacy alive by sacrificing his life,” said one of his relatives, Gulzar Ahmed.
Another relative said Akeel was studying in class 12. “He would do menial jobs after school time to support his family. The family has been living in abject poverty since the death of Akeel’s father. With his death, the family is left with no earning hand now. Majeed gave his everything for the movement, but after his death not a single separatist leader came forward to support the family.”
A former PDP worker, Assadullah Bhat blamed PDP government for the civilian killings. “We have been wronged by PDP in every way. First, they used to lure us with promise of better roads, development and what not. It was the PDP which said that they will make it sure that forces excesses won’t go unpunished, why isn’t the police lodging an FIR against army now?”

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