Thousands attend Hizb commander's funeral in Nagam

Thousands attend Hizb commander's funeral in Nagam

Budgam district observes complete shutdown Restrictions cripple Downtown Srinagar

Braving rains, thousands of people flooded Nagam area of Budgam district on Monday to participate in the funeral of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Muhammad Yasin Itoo alias Mehmood Ghaznavi. Ghaznavi and two other militants were killed in an 18-hour gunfight at Awneera, Shopian on Sunday.

Itoo’s body reached Nagam at 9:30 pm on Sunday following which the locals decided to offer his funeral prayers at 10 am on Monday.

Thousands of people remained awake for the entire night and were joined by several militants amid pro-freedom and pro-Islam sloganeering in the village, according to witnesses. Surprisingly, the militants did not give a gun-salute to the slain commander.

With the first light of the day on Monday, people arrived in Nagam on motorbikes, tippers, sumos and other vehicles. The government forces were manning all roads leading to the village to curb movement of people ostensibly to prevent the gathering at the commander’s funeral from becoming bigger.

The first funeral prayer was offered at 10 am in which at least 20,000 people participated. The funeral was offered in the compound of girls higher secondary school, Nagam.

Funeral prayers were offered at least five times and each time, thousands of people attended these, a witness said. Itoo was later laid to rest in a common graveyard as per the wish he had made to his father. The slain militants are normally laid to rest in local martyrs’ graveyards.

Soon after his funeral ended, thousands of people raised pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans and staged a massive demonstration. The entire district observed a complete shutdown to mourn the Shopian killings.

RESTRICTIONS IN DOWNTOWN

Government had imposed restrictions in Srinagar areas falling under jurisdiction of five police stations to thwart any protests against the killing of two civilians by government forces in Shopian and Pulwama districts on Sunday. Restrictions remained in place at Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, MR Gunj and Safakadal.

Owais Shafi and Muhammad Sayeed Bhat were killed by government forces during protests on Sunday. Shafi sustained multiple pellet injuries at Kakapora in Pulwama and was referred to SMHS here where he was declared as ‘dead on arrival’ by the doctors while Muhammad Sayeed Bhat received bullet injury near the gunfight site at Avneera in Shopian and was taken to a hospital where he succumbed late last night. Educational institutions including schools and colleges remained closed for the day across Kashmir in view of the prevailing situation.