A sea of people participated in the multiple rounds of funeral prayers held for a militant commander and his associate in southern Shopian district on Sunday, even as at least 13 persons were injured after forces fired live ammunition at the mourners.Top Al-Badr commander Zeenat-ul-Islam and his associate Shakeel Ahmad Dar were killed on Saturday evening in a gunfight with forces in the neighbouringKulgam district.
Despite frosty weather conditions, thousands of people thronged Sugan and Chilipora villages—the native places of Zeenat and Dar respectively—since early morning to participate in their funeral prayers.A witness said multiple rounds of funeral prayers were offered for the slain militants to accommodate the massive rush of mourners.
Hundreds of forces personnel had encircled the villages to limit the number of people joining the funeral prayers, the witness said.He said the forces personnel did not allow mourners to walk in groups towards Sugan and Chilipora villages, but despite such restrictions, a massive rush of mourners was witnessed at the funerals.
The two militants were later laid to rest amid pro-freedom and pro-Islam sloganeering.
A mourner told that as forces personnel tried to march towards a prayer place (jinazagah)— nearly a kilometer from main Sugan village—some youth threw stones at the forces, fearing they might intercept the funeral procession.The forces personnel, he said, fired live ammunition at the mourners, leaving at least 12 of them injured.
A police official said there was no deployment of the police in or around the village but the soldiers of army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles dotted the area since late Saturday night.“A woman identified as Showki Jan also suffered injuries after she was hit by an army vehicle,” the official said.
Some youth also threw stones at an army facility in Chillipora village, he said.A senior police official, who wished not to be named, said the army deployed its soldiers in the area despite objections by the police.
An official at district hospital Pulwama said they received six persons with both firearm and pellets injuries.“Three persons with firearm injuries were later referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital for specialised treatment,” he said. A health official at primary health centreZainpora said they received five persons with pellet injuries.
Another official at district hospital Shopian said they received two persons, including a woman who was hit by a vehicle.Meanwhile, some militants appeared during the funeral of Zeenat-ul-Islam and offered him a gun-salute, a group of witnesses said.