March 2016 News

Thousands Join Hizb Militant's Funeral In Kaimoh

7 March 2016
Greater Kashmir
Khalid Gul

Kaimoh (Kulgam): Thousands of people on Monday participated in the funeral prayers of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Dawood Ahmad Sheikh who died in a gunfight with forces in Buchroo village of South Kashmir's Kulgam district last night. At least eight protesters were injured in massive clashes that erupted in Kaimoh-the native place of the slain militant-with one of them sustaining pellet injuries, reports and witnesses said. As a mark of tribute to Dawood-a 'most wanted' militant in police records-all business establishments in Kulgam, Kaimoh, Yaripora, Frisal and other adjoining areas remained closed while traffic was off the roads, locals told Greater Kashmir. The district administration, fearing 'law and order problems', had imposed Section 144 of CrPc in Kaimoh town and its adjoining villages to prevent assembly of people in the wake of Dawood's death. Section 144 bars assembly of four or more people at one place. But thousands of people from different Kulgam villages-defying restrictions-marched towards Kaimoh to participate in Dawood's funeral prayers. Witnesses said the mourners chanted pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans as they marched in processions towards Kaimoh. 'Many of them were carrying Pakistani flags,' they said. At several places-especially in Kaimoh-scores of women showered flower petals and sweets on the coffin of Dawood whose funeral prayers were held at least thrice as thousands of people continued to throng his native village to have his last glimpse. Amid tears, cries and pro-freedom slogans, Dawood was later laid to rest. Soon after the funeral prayers, witnesses said, youth hit the streets in adjacent Khudwani area and held massive protest demonstrations and also clashed with government forces deployed in strength in the area to thwart protests. 'Youth attacked CRPF men camped in Rice Research Institute of SKAUST-K with stones and bricks,' a group of witnesses said. They said the forces retaliated with tear-gas canisters and also resorted to aerial firing to break up the protests. 'The protesters however did not relent and continued to attack the building where CRPF men were camped. They even tried to set it on fire,' witnesses said. Additional contingents of police and paramilitary forces were rushed to the area to disperse the protesters, a police official said. 'The forces again lobbed tear-gas shells and used pellet guns to disperse the protesters, causing injuries to eight people,' local residents told Greater Kashmir. The injured were shifted to Sub-District Hospital Kaimoh. One of the injured youth had pellet injury in his face, eye and neck while other injured had tear-gas shell injuries, said a doctor. Several cops and CRPF men were also injured in the ensuing clashes which were on when this report was filed. WHO WAS DAWOOD Dawood Ahmad Sheikh, 22, joined the militant ranks of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in 2013 when he was a 12th class student. Soon, he became the most wanted militant, listed as A++ category militant, in police records, a police official said. Dawood, a close associate of Hizb commander Burhan, had surfaced in many videos circulated on social media. In one of the photos that went viral on social networking site Facebook, he was seen with Burhan while flaunting his AK-47 rifle. According to his neighbors, Dawood was arrested several times on charges of stone-pelting-before his militancy links surfaced. Police claim that Dawood was involved in the killing of Territorial Army man Gowhar Ahmad in Khudwani. Dawood was youngest among his siblings-two brothers-who are into business and a sister. His father Ghulam Muhmamad passed away when he was only a kid, locals said. Dawood's mother Parveena said her son has 'achieved the purpose of his life.' 'Though he was an inseparable part of our life, I have no regrets whatsoever today. He always wanted to fight for freedom and die as a martyr and today he has achieved his goal,' Parveena said. 'He came to visit me only two days back and sought forgiveness from me for not serving me in his life,' Parveena told Greater Kashmir at her residence where hundreds of people visited during the day to offer their condolences to her. HIZB PAYS TRIBUTES Meanwhile, HizbulMujhadeen paid rich tribute to Dawood Ahmed Sheikh at its Command Council meeting that was presided over by the outfit's Chief, Syed Salahuddin 'Though the martyrdom of Dawood is a big loss, his sacrifice will play a cardinal role in ending Indian occupation in Kashmir,' a Hizb spokesman told local news agency CNS in a statement. He advised the Hurriyat leadership and militants to be 'vigilant about black sheep' in Kashmir. 'The blood of youth will not go waste and the freedom movement will continue till it is taken to its final destination,' he said.