A day of funerals in Kashmir:
“YOU must be sad today, your brothers were martyred,” said an Indian army soldier, at our faces.
A few hours earlier, three gunfight shots had taken place in the southern region of occupied Kashmir. The Pakistani Army exchanged gunfire with Indian army for hours, leading to the killing of 13 Kashmiri’s, 3 soldiers and 4 civilians.
At least 150+ people were injured. The Indian government immediately suspended internet services while Kashmiri leaders called for a shutdown.
We attended two funerals and visited the scenes of a gunfight.
The first place was Pinjoora town, where 100 of people had gathered on a road, waiting for the dead body of a militant, Ishfaq Ahmad.
One of them said: “They have killed so many mujahids, they all are from neighbouring villages. They have destroyed Shopian.”
Malik body was brought in a car, a lot of people were struggling to see his face. Another group was surrounding another small car that was carrying the body of Ahmad Turay. Both of them were killed, along with five others, in Drugad village.
When the funeral prayers began, a few people fell unconscious.
A young man sitting that was next to me said: “He was a boy who joined the militants two months ago. A few weeks ago when a civilian was shot dead, Ishfaq came to offer a gun salute during the funeral.”
Before joining the militants Malik was in New Delhi. “His friends didn’t know about his plans, but when he bought an expensive torchlight, they felt he is planning something,” said the young man.
After Malik’s funeral, we left the town, where thousands of people gathered at the Edgar ground. Young men climbed trees, while the body was kept on a podium.
After the prayers, people started leaving the ground while few people started throwing stones at the court complex. A few old men tried to stop them, but they overpowered everyone.
After this, we reached Kachdora. Walking through the streets we saw a burnt body that was wrapped in a blanket.
“We later heard there were seven militants in that house,” an old man, owner of a neighboring house, said. “The army cordoned off the houses around 12.30am and then an exchange of fire started. We were evacuated and till an hour ago, the forces were here.”
We saw that two women hugged each other. One of them said to the other: “Thank Allah that at least you are alive. Houses can be reconstructed.”
The other woman said, “No, we lost our boys.”