A HizbulMujahideen militant was killed in a gunfight with government forces in Bewoora village of Bijbehara in this South Kashmir district on Wednesday. The killing triggered massive protests in various parts of south Kashmir.
The militant was identified as 21-year old BasitRasool Dar of Marhama village of Bijbehara. Son of a bank manager, Basit was a B Tech student before joining militancy four months back.
Known by the name of Engineer Basit within militant ranks, he was active for past four months only and was a close associate of Hizb district commander for Anantnag, AamirWagay alias IbnQasim, according to police sources.
A police official said that on a specific input a joint team of army and police cordoned off village Bewoora in the wee hours. "At around 7 AM, contact was established with the militants. On being challenged, they fired which was retaliated, triggering a gunfight," he said.
He said in the ensuing gun battle one militant was killed. The other militants, believed to be two in number, according to police sources, escaped through the orchards and a hunt has been launched to nab them.
"As soon as the word about two more militants being trapped in the village spread, people came out of their houses and clashed with forces to help the militants escape," reports said.
They said forces lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.
Protests and clashes were witnessed in other Bijbehara villages- Kanelwan, Hatigam and Srigufwara.
Meanwhile, as soon as the word about the killing of Basit spread in his native village, people came out raising pro-freedom slogans and holding protest demonstrations.
"People from several areas marched to the village to have his last glimpse," witnesses said.
They said thousands of people participated in his funeral procession which was offered thrice.
Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed the mourners telephonically, asking them to be resilient and safeguard the sacrifices.
Later, as per reports, clashes erupted in the village.
Basit is survived by parents, two sisters, both post graduates. His elder brother, a B Tech pass-out, is working in a bank in New Delhi.
Basit was an avid blogger. In his last entry on his blog page, Basit wrote in one of the paragraphs:
"What are you doing here?" He questioned. I was not able to understand what to say so I remained silent. Again he said but now with different tone "What are you doing here?"
I said, "I am just enjoying the creation of Almighty."
"Show me the identity card", he asked but with the eyes turning red with anger.
I asked myself, "What…?? For enjoying nature we need an identity card."
"What is identity card?"