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Kulgam encounter: Zeenat-ul-Islam, aide buried after multiple funerals

Srinagar, Jan 13: Slain militant commander, Zeenat-ul-Islam and his associate Shakeel Ahmad, were Sunday interred after thousands of people attended the duo’s multiple funeral prayers in Shopian even as the government forces fired live ammunition to stop the crowd from assembling.

The militant duo was killed in a gunfight with forces in Yaripora area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday.

At least eleven civilians were injured after the forces fired live ammunition and pellets at protesters in Sugan village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.


Reports said that the forces had blocked all roads leading to Sugan village to limit the number of mourners gathering for funeral of Zeenat who was killed by the forces Saturday evening in Yaripora area of Kulgam.

Witnesses said that clashes erupted soon after the forces resorted to aerial firing to chase away the people assembling in the village.

They said that forces fired live ammunition and pellets at the protesters, resulting in injuries to at least ten civilians.

Media reports quoting health department officials said that four injured were shifted to sub district hospital Zainapora.

“One had pellet injury in his eye while three others were hit by pellets on their bodies,” reports quoting an official said.

An official at district hospital Shopian said that two injured were brought to the facility for treatment. “One had a bullet injury in his thigh,” he said.

A woman, identified as Shokhi, was injured after being allegedly hit by an army vehicle. She was also shifted to district hospital Shopian.

Five injured were brought to district hospital Pulwama for treatment, reports.

“Two had firearm injuries in legs while a bullet had grazed the head of third one,” they said, adding the trio was shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment.

He said two others brought to the hospital had pellet injuries.

The firing on civilians though could not stop thousands of people taking part in the last rites of Zeenat-ul-Islam and his associate Shakeel Ahmad Dar.

As per reports, five rounds of funeral prayers, in which thousands of people participated, were held for Zeenat while four rounds were held for Shakeel.

Reports said pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans were raised during the funeral of both slain militants, Zeenat of Sugan and Shakeel of Chilli Pora at their native villages.

An eyewitness said that scores of men and women wept bitterly as the bodies were being carried for the funeral prayers. Soon after the funeral prayers, a group of militants appeared in the crowd and offered a gun salute.

Most of the south Kashmir areas observed shutdown during the day.

Zeenat according to police records had a long history of militancy since 2006 when he got affiliated with Al-Badr and was later arrested.

“However after he was released, he again got recycled in 2016 and subsequently got affiliated with militant outfit Hizb and recently he joined Al-Badr outfit in Shopian. Consequently he became the chief of Al-Badr,” a police official said.

 

Says Mehbooba:‘Firing at mourners disturbing’

Srinagar, Jan 13: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that firing at the people who wanted to participate in the funeral prayers of a local militant was unfortunate and disturbing.

Taking to social networking site Twitter, Mehbooba wrote: “Reports of aerial firing at Sugan Shopian to stop the crowd from participating in the funeral prayers of a local militant, are very unfortunate and disturbing. Such interference in religious affairs is undesirable and may backfire leading to further anger and alienation.”

Earlier forces had blocked all roads leading to Sugan village in Shopian district to limit the number of mourners gathering for the funeral of Al Badr commander Zeenat-ul-Islam who was killed by the forces along with his associate Saturday evening in Yaripora area of Kulgam.