Among the five militants who came to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Junaid Matoo’s funeral on Saturday, two were from the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, their attendance reflective of a co-ordination between terror outfits that security forces and the police find worrisome. LeT militants Matoo, Nasir Ahmed Wani and Adil Mushtaq were killed in an encounter in Anantnag district on Friday.
Nasir’s funeral, too, was attended by two Hizb commanders. At both places — Matoo’s village Khudwani in Kulgam and Nasir’s family home in Heff, Shopian — the militants came armed and raised anti-India slogans. A senior police officer said the presence of militant leaders at funerals of militants who did not belong to the same outfit, was a way to glamourise their movement. “It is a matter of concern for us,” said the officer. “By appearing at militants’ funerals, they are trying to attract more youths towards militancy and they have been successful sometimes.”
Police sources said the Hizb district commander for Kulgam, Altaf Ahmad Dar, and Lashkar commander Shakoor were among the militants seen at Matoo’s funeral. Altaf carries a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head. At Nasir’s funeral, Hizb commander for Shopian Saddam Padder was present with LeT’s Shopian commander Waseem Shah and another Hizb militant. “Over the past two years, militants of different organisations, especially LeT and Hizb, are working together,” said a police officer. “It was Burhan (Wani) who started coordinating with militants of other outfits,” he said.
In February, four militants were killed in an encounter in Kulgam. Security forces found out that two of them belonged to Hizb and the others to LeT. They were sharing a hideout.