Thousands attend slain militant’s funeral Kulgam, Anatnag shut against civilian killing

Thousands of people on Wednesday participated in the last rites of slain militant Mohammad Furhan Wani in Khudwani area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district while a shutdown was observed in twin districts of Anantnag and Kulgam in southern region of Kashmir against the killing of a civilian.

The Hizbul Mujahideen militant, Furhan Wani, died in a gunfight with government forces in Larnoo village of Kokernag area in Anantnag district on Tuesday. After the killing police said that two civilians sustained bullet injuries when a mob pelted stones on the Army camp at Kudwani from whom one civilian Khalid Ahmed Dar (22) who had got a bullet injury on his neck succumbed. Furhan and Khalid barely lived a kilometre apart from each other.

As soon as the news about the killing of a local militant hailing from Khudwani area had spread locals came out on roads and clashed with the forces in Quimoo area of Kulgam. During the clashes civilian Khalid was killed after the forces opened fire on the protesters.

Family members of Furhan said that he was good at studies and had passed his 10th class in 2016 with 484 marks. However little did his father, Ghulam Mohammad Wani, a government teacher by profession, know that his teenage son will walk up to embrace arms.

Furhan’s sister, Wani Munaza, is an engineer in Rural Development department of the government and family remains one of the most well-off ones. He was laid to rest this afternoon at martyr’s graveyard in their locality at Wanigund Khudwani after two back-to-back funerals which were attended by thousands of people from different areas of South Kashmir as his father led the prayers.

“I did not expect such a huge gathering of people behind me when I was leading the Nimazi Jinaaza of my son. Every boy is not so lucky to achieve a martyrdom the way my son was fortunate to get this highest status,’’ said his father, Ghulam Mohammad Wani.

On June 6 last year Furhan did not return home from school and had joined militancy.
“We were clueless regarding his disappearance but on 14 June his picture was uploaded by someone on social media with a weapon. It was obviously a shock for us at that time. In November, like any concerned parent, I got emotionally charged over the return of a local militant in Anantnag who shunned the rebel ranks within days and returned home after the plea by his parents. I also turned to social media and appealed my son to come back home.

But today while seeing thousands of people, including several Hurriyat leaders, turning up and converging to pay tributes to my son, it filled me with immense satisfaction and contentment that I am now a proud father of a martyr,” he added.

One of the Furhan’s friends, who studied with him in FM Higher Secondary school in Anantnag, said that he was good at studies. “Furhan never participated in any protest or stone pelting and we had least expected that he would one day turn into a rebel and a martyr. But he would often yearn to see Kashmir become a free place”, said his friend Naveed Ahmad.
The family of Khalid remains in a deep shock while locals blamed the government forces for his killing. Khalid’s brother, Tariq Ahmed, said that he was killed near SKAUST’s Rice Testing Centre at Khudwani in Kulgam district, where protests were going on outside the Army and SOG camp over the killing of Furhan in an encounter.
“Khalid, 20, was a student of final semester of BSC in Government Boys Degree College Anantnag at Khanabal and had left at 11:30 am from home for submitting his examination form, the last date of which was on 15 January. We talked to each other around 1 pm and he asked me not to come towards the camp side and said he was also heading back home as by then the word had spread about the killing of Furhan in an ongoing encounter with the forces at Larnoo Kokernag which had triggered protests and clashes at Khudwani. He did return home, but dead”, said Tariq, while breaking down.