Thousands of people swarmed the local graveyard at Wagoora in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district to bury Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant Shafat Hussain Wani, who was killed in an encounter with forces at Budgam.
People Sunday attended the funeral prayers of slain LeT militant as thousands from Wagoora and its adjacent villages of Nowpora, Vizer, Kreeri, Saloosa, Kalantra participated in the last rites.
The militant was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Wagoora amid pro-freedom and anti India slogans.
Meanwhile government forces blocked all main roads leading to Wagoora to maintain calm while mobile internet services were snapped in Baramulla district following the killing.
At many places in the area, clashes between protesters and government forces were witnessed. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse people at various places.
Shafat Hussain Wani, son of late Mohammad Akbar Wani, 33, had joined militant ranks in May 2017. His family members said that Shafat was teaching at Kirmani Memorial Institute—a private school at Wagoora—
before joining the militant ranks.
Remembered as a friendly and pious boy among his friends, Shafat had passed 10th standard with a distinction from Hanafia Model School Baramulla.
“He was a brilliant student but in 12th standard he couldn’t concentrate on the studies. But after few years he passed 12th standard and joined a private school as a teacher and was there for many years. He always aspired to become a doctor,” Mudassir Ahmad, a close friend and classmate of Shafat said.
Eldest of his siblings, Shafat is survived by two brothers and mother Haleema. His one brother Ishfaq Ahmad Wani, according to family, is a practicing lawyer at District Court Baramulla while as another is running a grocery shop at the main market Wagoora.
Ghulam Hassan, Shafat’s uncle, said that last year in 2017, he left the home and told the family that he is getting an opportunity to teach at Srinagar school. That was a ruse worked out by him to join militancy and he had never returned back.
“We were informed by police that he has joined the militant ranks and today also police informed us that he was killed in an encounter at Arizal Budgam, ” Ghulam Hassan said.
Army said that from the “maps and war like stores” recovered from the slain militant it is evident that Shafat alias Abu Qasim was a very important member of Lashkar-e-Toiba.
“He was an important element of Lashkar and has been instrumental in carrying out infiltration and assisting other militants to establish themselves in various parts of Kashmir,” said A K Nair, Commanding Officer 53 Rashtriya Rifles.
As soon as the news of Shafat’s killing reached Wagoora Baramulla, people in large numbers started moved towards his ancestral place amid a shut down that was observed in the area throughout the day.