Prayers for Hizb leader turn violent, two killed
3 August 2001
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Two people were killed and eight injured when the Army opened fire on a procession of people observing the ''charrum'' of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mustafa Khan in Magam, 18 km from here. Khan had been killed in an encounter at Goigam on Tuesday, while he and five associates were holed up in a shrine. While officials say the firing was provoked, the state government has instituted an inquiry into the episode. Eyewitnesses said more than 40,000 people were taking out a rally from Goigam to Magam. As they reached the Magam chowk, a major junction on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road, they were fired at by a column of armymen moving towards Tangmarg. One person died and a 12-year old boy died of bullet injuries in a Srinagar hospital. Budgam deputy commissioner Rohit Kansal, quoting the report submitted to him, said members of the procession stoned an army vehicle, breaking its windowpane. In the subsequent firing, one person was killed and eight injured. Kansal said he has submitted report to state government and an inquiry was likely to be instituted by an officer of the rank of additional deputy magistrate. Mustafa''s death on Tuesday brought to an end a sordid saga of vengeance, humiliation and revenge. His father had died when he was a toddler and, while a teenager, he was forced to watch while his mother was raped by a counter-insurgent. That incident made him give up school and cross the LoC for arms training to avenge his mother''s humiliation. In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Khan was one of the youngest recruits to hold an AK-47 and metamorphosed into a dedicated militant. He returned home in 1996, immediately starting the process of winning back former militants who had sought refuge in security services or were working as counter- insurgents. His target all along, though, was Kana, who was duly killed and beheaded, his scalp put up on display on the second day of Eidul Zuha. Khan also headed a six-member Hizbul Mujahiden Task Force (HTF) in Budgam, assigned the task of strengthening the intelligence network and winning back former cadres. From all accounts, he was able to win back scores of former militants to Hizbul.