Who Were These Militants?

15 January 2015
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Among the five militants killed in bloody encounter in Keller Shopian, one was the brother of a journalist who works for a trendy Indian Hindi News Channel. Shakeel Ahmed Wani, joined Jaish-e-Muhammad in July 2014 according to residents of his native Pakharpora village. Shakeel had transformed after he joined Tableegi Jamat. One of his relatives said that before joining militancy Shakeel quit his government job. 'He was a post graduate student and was the member of an influential family. He was married and had two daughters and a little son Abdullah.' Shakeel according to locals was an active member of 'Tableegi Jammat' and according to one of his relatives he was completely a transformed man after he spent 40 days at a stretch in a Masjid with a Tableegi Jammat. Soon after joining militancy, Shakeel came to lime light after a group of militants attacked policemen deployed at local shrine in Pakharpora. 'He was one of the group members involved in the attack and weapon snatching incident at Pakharpora shrine in 2014,' said a police official. 'He was a dedicated Jihadi,' a counter-insurgency officer said, adding: 'his family, the police and his journalist brother tried hard to motivate him for surrender but to no avail.' They said he had done Post-Graduation thrice and had also done a course from Noida. 'Earlier, he was associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and then he joined Jaish-e-Muhammad,' sources said. According to these sources Tahir, who is from Aglar Kandi, had joined the militant ranks only around a month ago.' He was in his early twenties. Another slain militant, Ashfaq was also a new recruit and had joined insurgents some four to five months back, a police officer said. PROTESTS: There was spontaneous shutdown in Pakharpora after the news about the death of Shakeel reached there. Agitated youth took to roads and attacked police personnel near Bus Stand. Eyewitnesses said that police resorted to aerial firing to keep the stone-hurling youth at bay. Reports said that scores of protestors made their entry into the Shrine of Syed Sultan Syed Muhammah Ali Aali (RA) and attacked the policemen guarding the shrine. The violent youth reportedly ransacked the belongings of policemen and tried to set their post on fire. 'Police exercised maximum restraint and did not use any force. Soon after the incident, reinforcement reached there to restore the peace and order,' a police official said. In Kellar hundreds of people raising pro-freedom slogans held strong protests which later turned into clashes. Keller encounter is the second such in Kashmir in last 24 hours. On Wednesday, a militant was killed by soldiers in Sopore town .