In south Kashmir’s Qaimoh village, thousands of villagers defied restrictions and attended the funeral of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Dawood Sheikh on Monday.
The 21-year-old militant was killed in an encounter with security forces at Buchroo village in Kulgam district on Sunday evening.
Over the past two years, the police have been on the look out for the militant and had conducted several raids in south Kashmir. While Dawood was killed, his associate managed to escape after villagers started pelting the security forces with stones to provide safe passage to the militants. The Army as well as the police term the killing a big success.
To prevent participation in the funeral, the police had imposed strict restrictions in Qaimoh and neighboring villages. However, thousands of people from neighboring villages still turned up at the funeral and eyewitnesses said the prayers had to be organised in three shifts.
When people pelted stones on the police and paramilitary forces, the police used tear gas shells and cane-charged them to disperse the protestors. Six protestors were injured.
The villagers also chanted pro-Azadi slogans in favor of the slain militants. Locals who participated in the funeral said two militants wearing pherans (Kashmiri gown) also participated in the funeral. This is the second time in south Kashmir when active militants participated in the funeral of any slain militant.
Dawood was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen and was an associate of Hizb commander Burhan Wani who operates in Tral area of south Kashmir. Soon after Dawood was killed in the encounter, pictures of him wearing army fatigues and carrying AK rifles along with Hizb commander Burhan went viral on the social sites.
Locals said in 2014, Dawood killed a counter-insurgent-turned-army man in Kulgam and after that he went underground. He is the fourth militant of the Burhan group who was killed in the past week.
According to the police, he was wanted in several killings in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.