Two local militants of Al-Badar outfit were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Rebon village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district in the wee hours of Sunday.
Police said a joint team of Army’s Rastriya Rifles, paramilitary CRPF and Special Operations Group (SOG) of Police cordoned off Rebon area of Zainapora in the wee hours of Sunday after receiving specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
A Police official said as the joint team of forces approached the suspected house, militants, who were hiding there, fired at the search party at around 4 am.
“The fire was retaliated, triggering a gunfight,” he said.
The Police official said militants rushed out of the house in a bid to escape but were killed in the courtyard.
He identified the slain militants as Nawaz Ahmad Wagay son of Ghulam Qadir Wagay of Rebon village of Shopian and Yawar Ahmad Wani, son of Ali Muhammad Wani of Bhatnoor village of Pulwama. Both belonged to Al-Badar.
Police said the duo was involved in a number of attacks on the government forces and claimed to have recovered arms and ammunitions from the site of gunfight besides some incriminating material.
The bodies of the militants were handed to their heirs for burial after completing medical and other legal formalities.
Thousands of people turned up at the funeral of the two slain militants in their respective villages raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Eyewitnesses said the first round of funeral prayers for slain militant, Yawar, was held at around 11:30 am at Bhatnoor village of Pulwama and within an hour five back-to back rounds of funerals were held.
The militant was later buried at the village graveyard at around 12:30 pm amidst massive pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
A cousin of the slain militant informed that Yawar, 18, dropped out of school in 10th standard to join militant ranks on 17 August 2018.
Youngest of the three siblings including a brother and a sister, Yawar was detained by Police several times for his association with the militants, the cousin said.
He said Yawar’s close friend, Aqib, from the same village is an active militant and that he had served as an inspiration for Yawar to join militant ranks.
Six rounds of funeral prayers were also held for Nawaz at Rebon village of Shopian before he was buried.
Locals informed that Nawaz, a postgraduate in Urdu, joined Al Badar militant group on June 1.
They said after returning from fields, Nawaz left his house in Khuje Pora Rebon in the afternoon of June 1, 2018 for a routine walk around the village but did not return home till evening which worried his family members.
“The family members started searching for him but were informed by neighbours that Nawaz released a gun-wielding photograph announcing his joining militant ranks,” locals said.
“The announcement came as shocker for poor Wagay family,” a relative said. “They never expected him to take such a decision as he never showed any inclination toward militancy and used to remain engaged in his daily chores.”
Soon after his gun-wielding photograph went viral over social media, Nawaz’s mother, Sara Begum, a widow, appealed her son to return home pleading that she already had lost her husband and did not want to lose her son too.
However, Nawaz did not pay heed to his mother’s call and returned home dead.
Locals informed that Nawaz’s father, who was associated with Jamiat-e-Islami, was allegedly killed by pro-government gunmen, Ikhwan, in Rebon in 1996 when Nawaz was barley two-years-old.