Srinagar, Jun 26: There was hardly anyone who stayed at home. Even mourners came from villages many miles away. As a result a large crowd of mourners gathered for the funeral of Shakoor Ahmad Dar, the Lashkar-I-Toiba militant killed in a gunfight at Qaimoh yesterday.
But there was one mourner who grieved for him from a cell in prison: Shakoor’s brother, who continues to be behind bars since the last one year.
Dar took to arms in 2016 and become a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and worked in close coordination with the slain popular Let commanders- Majid Zargar of Qaimoh and Abu-Ismail of Pakistan.
After Lashkar lost most of it commanders in the Operation All Out, he rose to become commander in the Kulgam area and was listed as category A ++ militant in police records. His neighbors in the native village- Supat-Tangpora in Devsar area accused the government forces of harassing his family continuously after he joined militancy .
“Khurshid Ahmad- his elder brother, a shopkeeper by profession was arrested last year in autumn on charges of being over ground worker (OGW) and was later booked under public safety act and detained at district jail Mattan , Anantnag. He has been diagnosed with renal cancer but despite that he is not being released,” said a villager Farooq Ahmad. He said that the police claimed to have recovered a pistol from his possession, which, he said, is far from the truth.
“Few days back his eldest brother Sartaj Ahmad, also a shopkeeper was also arrested on charges of militancy links. But the elderly people pleaded with the police officials to release him so that he could attend the funeral of his brother. He was released in the morning on the condition that the family would produce him again till July 4,” said another villager Farooq Ahmad.
The body of Shakoor was handed over to his family for the last rites late in the night on Sunday and there was scarcely anyone in the village who had managed to sleep through the night.
Songs of freedom and defiance played on the mosque loudspeakers, keeping everyone up. In any case, the anguish of losing a pious boy was so deep that somehow everyone felt that they must mourn with the Dars by staying close to them.
As the night passed and the first rays of the sun touched the village, a sea of mourners descended from every many areas of southern Kashmir to have the last glimpse of Dar.
People braved strict restrictions put near the area on Srinagar-Jammu highway leading towards the village. “I along with my friends on motorbikes left my home early morning at 6:00 am to attend the funeral,” said a youth who identified himself as Haseeb of Zainapora-Shopian.
The parents of Shakoor were seen sitting by the remains of their younger son. Their elder sons Sartaj and Ishfaq tried to console them as people in large numbers raised pro-freedom, pro militant and pro- Pakistan slogans.
Youth were also seen waving Pakistani flags and the posters of the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani posters.
Such was the rush of the people that many people fainted during the funeral due to the heat. Emotional scenes were witnessed as three gun wielding militants made an appearance on the stage and while hugging the parents of Dar offered gun salute to their fallen comrade.