Thousands attend funeral of Kashmiri militant who called for jihad against Pakistan

Mourners carry the body of Kashmiri militant Mugees Ahmad Mir for burial in Srinagar’s Parimpur on Saturday. (Kashmir Dispatch photo)

Amid slogans against the resistance amalgam All Parties Hurriyat Confrence, thousands of Kashmiris assembled to mourn the death of militant– who had ‘called for jihad against India and Pakistan’– from the region’s summer capital, Srinagar, despite stringent restrictions on the movement of people put in place by the government on Saturday.

The slain Mugees Ahmad Mir, a resident of Srinagar’s Parimpur locality, was injured in a shootout in the sub-urban Zukur when he jumped a police check point after being asked to stop. Highly placed sources in the police told Kashmir Dispatch that Mugees and his unidentified accomplice had fired after they were chased by the policemen at the check point which lead to the death of a sub-inspector and injured a special police officer, who is recuperating at a hospital.

A report said that Mugees was hit by a bullet that slain assistant sub inspector of police Imran Tak had fired at him.

Sources further said a manhunt was launched in Zakur and vicinity but the militants managed to flee– and reports on Friday claiming that Mugess had been injured and was found dead in an orchard in Zakur were not true. Multiple sources told Kashmir Dispatch that Mugees had managed to flee from the shoot-out spot.

“After sustaining injuries, he had called his family, informing them about his state. Later again, a phone call was made to his mother, telling her to collect his body from an area between Panthachowk and Zewan on the southern fringes of Srinagar city– about 20 kms from the shoot-out site,” a source said, adding: the militant’s family rushed to bring his body home.

Kashmir range inspector general of police Muneer Khan told local daily Greater Kashmir that the militants were traveling in a private car bearing registration number JK01V-5593.

Sources in police told Kashmir Dispatch that they had specific input about the presence of militants in Zukar and adjacent localities but many search operations till Friday had yielded no results.

As the news of the militant’s death went viral on social media on Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir government put restrictions in most parts of the Srinagar City. People started assembling at Mugees’ house on Friday evening. His family decided to bury him next morning. “We will wait for people from South Kashmir districts to reach Srinagar before interring him in the grave,” his mother had told a huge group of mourners at his home on Friday.

Mugees, sources say, worked as a over ground worker for the pro-Pakistan Tehreek ul Mujahideen for several years. In April, last year, he joined the Pakistan-based group which has presence in Srinagar’s Old City but was mostly operating from south Kashmir districts.

However, this year, he parted ways with Tehreek-ul-Mujahideeen and allied himself with Zakir Musa – who heads Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind- an al Qaeda affiliate group in Kashmir, a region contested by nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. He had since then remained operational in South Kashmir districts and had moved to the city days ago, sources said. A family member told Kashmir Dispatch that they “waited for south Kashmir residents as they had shielded him for years”.

This morning, despite severe restrictions, the crowds swelled outside Mugees’ Parimpur home raising slogans in favour of Islam and Zakir Musa. One estimate put the number of mourners at eight thousand. Witnesses said the mourners chanted slogans against All Parties Hurriyat Conference.  No Pakistani flag was visible in Mugees’ funeral nor the slogans in country’s favour. His body was draped in a flag used by Islam’s prophet.

Mugees was believed to be among those militants who appeared at the grave of policeman-turned-militant Naseer Pandit in Kareemabad village of Pulwom district early this year and called for jihad against Pakistan. “He was among a group of militants who while paying tributes to Naseer on his first death anniversary called for jihad against Pakistan,” a source from south Kashmir confirmed.

'Don’t hoist Pak flags at our funerals' 

Local sources said that people started gathering in the area since morning to attend the funeral prayers of Mugees. They said that people raised slogans against Hurriyat Conference like “Na Hurriyat Wali Shariat, Na Hurriyat Wali Azadi, Kashmir Banay Ga Darul Islam”.

His funeral prayers were offered in the sprawling SFC’s depot at PC Depot. He was laid to rest in a cemetery just behind the depot.

Fearing escalation of anti-India protest, authorities had shut schools and colleges and suspended train services on Saturday after Mugees’ death. However examinations will be held as per schedule. The government announced restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in areas falling under the jurisdiction of eight police stations in Srinagar. The areas where restrictions were imposed include Parimpur, Raenwor, Safakadal, Nawuet, Khnayar, MR Gung and partial restrictions in areas falling under Maisum and Kralkhud.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik was arrested today morning while APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest late last night.