Thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of slain Jaish-e- Muhammad (JeM) militant, Mukhtar Ahmed Lone alias Bita Molvi, who along with his two associates, Pervaiz Ahmed Wani of Pahoo Pulwama and a Pakistani Hassan Bhai were killed in an encounter with government forces in Wantiwen forests of Satura village of Tral in Pulwama district on Saturday.
From wee hours on Sunday, thousands of people reached the native village of Mukhtar in Amirabad to participate in his funeral. At least three back to back funeral prayers were held at Shah-e Hamdan ground in Amirabad.
Fathers of local slain militants including Burhan Wani, Issac Newton, Abid Khan and Faizan Bhat also joined the funeral prayers and later visited Mukhtar's house to pay condolences to his family.
Braving heat scores of people from Awantipora, Pulwama, Kaigam and Aripal started arriving in Amirabad, soon after the news about Mukhtar's killing broke out.
Mukhtar's body was taken to local martyr's graveyard where thousands of people participated in his last rites. His childhood friend, Mufti Riyaz, led the funeral prayers with moist eyes.
Large number of people assembled outside Mukhtar's house in Lone Mohalla Amirabad and chanted pro-freedom and slogans. Dozens of women showered rose petals and candies on his body from the rooftops and windows of their homes.
For hours together hundreds of women were seen outside martyrs graveyard at Amirabad. The women were weeping b amid slogans "tera bhai mera bhai, Mukhtar bhai Mukhtar bhai, even as local masjids reverberated with pro-freedom slogans.
His father, Muhammad Akram Lone, kissed him for the last time before bidding him final adieu.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Tral town to mourn the death of three militants.
All the shops and business establishments remain closed while as traffic was completely off the roads. Heavy deployment remained on various spots across the town to thwart any element of violence.
WHO WAS MUKHTAR LONE
Mukhtar Ahmed Lone (25), joined militant ranks on June 15 this year. Before joining militant ranks he was running a shop near his house.
Locals at Amirabad remember Mukhtar by the name of Omar Mukhtar (renowned Libyan resistance leader). "He was brave, gutsy and helpful," said one of his neighbors.
Mukhtar was youngest among his siblings—one brother works in J&K police and two sisters are married. His father Muhammad Akram Lone is a farmer, locals said.
Mukhtar's father Akram Lone said his son has "achieved the purpose of his life. "He left home in Ramadan and returned as Martyr in Shawaal. He always wanted to fight for freedom and die as a martyr and finally he achieved his goal." Akram said.
"On 19th of Ramadan he left home at 10 am before telling his mother that he will be back in a moment. Days before he joined militancy he had a verbal spat with forces, " Akram told Greater Kashmir. "He was my brave son who was ready to sacrifice his life for people. I am proud of my fighter who died with dignity." he added.
As per family, Mukhtar studied till 10th standard at Government Higher Secondary School Dardsara. His neighbor friends remember him as an ace cricketer and a top smasher in the game of volleyball.
Mukhtar was studying with slain Hizb commander Adil Mir, cousin of Burhan Wani. Adil, a B.Tech pass out from IUST was killed in an encounter in 2014 and Mukhtar left the education midway to run his shop.