Thousands of people Monday participated in multiple funerals of four civilians and two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, who were killed in army firing during a brief shootout at Pahnoo area of Shopian district last evening.
Three civilians and a militant had died when army fired on the vehicle they were travelling in at around 8 pm while body of a militant and a civilian were found today morning.
The body of civilian, Gowhar Ahmed Lone, was found inside his car bearing registration number JK01Q- 1723.
The locals said his body was behind the steering wheel, barely 200 metres away from the last night’s shootout spot.
Gowhar, a pesticide/fertilizer dealer and pursuing MPhil, was returning to home in MoolChitragam area of Shopian district when he was shot at by the army, the locals alleged.
They said he was stopped and killed hours after the shootout.
“After the initial shootout at 8 pm, we heard some two to three gunshots at around 11 pm. It was at this time Gowhar was shot dead”, said residents of Pahnoo, where hundreds of people had converged to have a look at the gunfight spot.
At around 9 am, another body of a local militant was recovered by police inside an orchard at Saidpora village of Shopian district, more than 10 kilometres away from Pahnoo.
The deceased was identified as AshiqHussain of RakhporaShopian, who had multiple bullet injuries.
He had received bullets in the same shootout and had managed to reach at this spot overnight, said a police official.
Ashiq had joined LeT during last summer.
Meanwhile, seven back to back funeral prayers were offered for LeT militant Amir Ahmed Malik in his native place of Hermain, Shopian.
Amir had joined LeT on July 2017. He was pursuing Masters in History from the University of Kashmir at the time of joining the militant ranks.
An active militant Mushtaq Ahmed of Chak-e-Chalun area of Shopian led one of the funeral prayers.
The army men managed to come close to the funeral ground and fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mourners. However, due to large presence of locals, the army men pulled back and left the spot after some time.
In Rakhpora area, thousands of locals converged to pay tributes to second militant, AshiqHussain.
Multiple funeral prayers were held for him and militants also offered a gun salute to him.
Sources said at least two militants managed to reach near his body and fired several rounds in air. Two army helicopters kept hovering over the area to maintain surveillance.
Around six rounds of funerals were offered to youth 19-year-old Muhammad Shahid Khan at MalikgundShopian.
Shahid, a 19-year-old boy was a student of 1st year in Shopiancollege.
Six rounds of funeral prayers were also offered for teenager, Suhail Khalil Wagay, at his native village of Pinjoora.
Suhail, 18 years old boy, was a class 12th student and was the youngest among his five siblings, who had gone to drop another slain youth Shahnawaz Ahmed at his home.
Army helicopter kept doing circles over the funeral ground here too.
“Suhail had gone to drop Shahnawaz home at TrenzShopian, which he often used to do, as he worked at our home since last many years. Shahnawaz used to work in our orchards and fields as a helper since long now. This was not for the first time that Suhail was sent with him to drop him home as it was late”, says a member of Wagay family.
Multiple funerals were also offered on the body of Shahnawaz with thousands of people including children and men participating in his funeral. The mourners were chanting pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.
“The deceased civilians had nothing to do with the militancy and it is a cold-blooded murder by the army. They had been stopped and fired upon intentionally to pass them off as so-called OGWs”, said a friend of Shahnawaz.