Srinagar, Mar 5: Two militants and four youths who were killed on Sunday evening in Shopian district of south Kashmir were laid to rest in their respective villages amid sobs and tears.
The militants and the youths were killed in army firing at Pahnoo village. While army said the youth were accompanying the militants and were killed in an encounter along with them, police said it was still investigating the matter. The chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said the youth were “caught in the crossfire”.
Sohail Ahmad Wagay was laid to rest at Trenz, Shahnawas Wagay at Moolu, Trenz, Shahid Khan at Malik Gund, and Gowhar Ahmad Lone at Moolu, Trenz. The two militants Amir Malik of Harmain and Ashiq Hussain Bhat of Rakh Kapran were also buried in their native villages amid pro-freedom slogans.
Thousands of people participated in the several rounds of funerals for the slain youths and militants. Militants also offered a gun salute during funeral prayers of Ashiq Bhat at Kapran.
Mohammad Abbass, the brother of slain youth Sohail Ahmad Wagay (22), said that Sohail called him at 7:24 pm. “He told me he has reached Pehlipora after dropping our mother where our sister resides.”
“After about half an hour, we heard the shocking news about his killing along with two other youth. The army is telling lies that he or two other youth were over ground workers (OGWs),” he said while breaking down.
Shahnawaz was working as an employee at Sohail’s house.
While bodies of three youth Shahnawaz, Shahid, Sohail and a militant Amir were found immediately, the body of Gowhar was found on the steering wheel of the vehicle (Wagon-R JK01Q-1723) he was driving. The body of the LeT militant Ashiq was found 8 to ten kilometers away in an apple orchard at Saidipora. Police said he (Ashiq) was “part of the chain of the incident at Pahnoo” village.
A police officer said, “Army in its version has stated that there was an ambush and as the vehicle (JK04D-7353) was asked to stop, there was fire which was retaliated, leading the killing of four persons travelling in it. The vehicle, Swift, belonged to Sohail Wagay. The militant killed in the shootout has been identified as Mohammad Amir Malik son of Bashir Ahmad Malik of Harmain Shopian.”
After conducting legal-medical formalities, police handed over the bodies to the families for last rites. The protests were going on in the area.
Meanwhile, police filed FIR under No. 54/ 2018 u/s 307 RPC, 7/27 I A Act with regard to the incident and started further investigations into it.
“The case was registered after the army unit filed a report with regard to the incident,” official sources said. (GNS)