An army man-turned-militant and his associate, both from Hizbul Mujahedeen, were killed in an encounter with forces in a remote village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.
The Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the Safa-Nagri village of Shopian in the early hours today after getting credible inputs about presence of militants there.
“As the search operation was going on, militants hiding in the area fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated, triggering an encounter,” a police official said.
He said in the ensuing encounter, two Hizb militants were killed.
The deceased were identified as Mohammad Idrees Sultan son of Mohammad Sultan R/o Safa-Nagri, Shopian and Amir Hussain Rather son of Mohammad Amin Rather R/o Awneeri, Shopian.
Idrees was an army deserter.
He had joined militancy on April 15 this year.
Prior to his joining militancy, Idrees was part of Army’s 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment and posted in Bihar.
A close relative of Idrees said in April, he was at home on leave.
“On April 11, he left home at around 4 pm and didn’t return till late evening. Four days after his mysterious disappearance from home, he announced his joining militant ranks by releasing a gun wielding photograph on social media,” he said.
Police said both the deceased militants were involved in number of attacks on forces.
According to locals, forces launched the CASO in the village in the early hours today.
“As troops were going on around patch of houses, about 100 meters from the house of Idrees, militants rushed into the open and were fired up by forces. Both the militants were killed in a brief encounter,” they said.
The bodies of deceased militants were handed over to heirs after lego-medical formalities.
Braving cold weather conditions, thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of the deceased militants at their respective villages chanting pro-freedom and anti-Indian slogans.
In Safan-Nagri, five back to back funeral prayers were held for Idrees. People from different villages of Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam participated in the funeral prayers.
Later, body of Idrees was buried in village graveyard.
Idrees, son of a government school teacher, is survived by four siblings, two brothers and two sisters.
Three rounds of funeral prayers were held for Amir, 26, at Awneeri Shopian.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani addressed the gathering of mourners telephonically and paid tributes to the deceased militants.
He said the sacrifices rendered by youth of Kashmir won’t be allowed to go in vain as their mission would be taken to its logical conclusion.
Local residents said Amir had joined militant ranks on May 23 this year.
He was a graduate and working on chemist shop at Frisal in Kulgam before joining militancy. He is survived by sister and a brother besides parents.