J&K police on Saturday identified the three militants who were killed in Arwani village of Anantnag district after a day-long gunfight on Friday. After a search operation that lasted the night, three bodies of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants Junaid Mattoo, Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq were recovered from the debris of houses where the encounter took place.
Junaid Mattoo, a resident of Khudwani village in Kulgam, was acting as the district commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba, police said. The three militants were residents of south Kashmir and two had joined militancy during last year’s unrest.
The bodies of the three militants were handed over to their respective families on Saturday morning and a big funeral was held for Mattoo in which people from different parts of south Kashmir participated.
People raised slogans as Mattoo was buried and four to five militants paid gun salutes to the militant. Mattoo had joined militant ranks in 2015 and was made Lashkar district commander after the killing of Majid Zarger.
Mattoo was involved in the killing of a police constable at Bogund on June 15, police said. “He was also involved in the attack on a police party in Mirbazar in which one policeman Mehmood was killed. He was also involved in the killing of an ASI and constable near Anantnag bus stand last year.’’
In 2016, Mattoo killed two police officials in Anantnag with a video of him fleeing the spot with an AK 47 going viral. He had managed to escape several police and Army operations.
Thousands of villagers participated in Nasir Wani’s funeral at Heff village in Shopian amid chanting of slogans even as a group of militants appeared on the scene and paid gun salute to him. More funerals were held for Wani in the village later.
Adil Mushtaq was active in Bijbehera area and was buried at Frestal Pampore where the government had imposed restrictions fearing a big funeral procession. Militants also paid gun salute to Adil.