As mourners thronged the native village of slain Al-Badr commander Zeenat-Ul-Islam on Sunday, they recreated poignant scenes which have become a signature sign of Kashmir’s funeral assemblies now.
During such gatherings, the mourners in Kashmir not only show solidarity with each other, but also exhibit collective grief and anguish over the passage of ‘one of their own’.
Commander Zeenat’s hometown, in Shopian’s Sugan, on Sunday lived up to that reputation.
The militant leader was killed along with his associate in Kulgam on Saturday evening—a day after he reportedly showed up at his home to meet his four-year-old daughter.
His killing has been termed as a “major success” for the armed forces in the Valley that considered the fallen commander “as the militancy force-multiplier in south Kashmir”.
Zeenat was one of the three militant chiefs on army’s kill list in Kashmir, apart from Zakir Musa and Riyaz Naikoo.
Last year, the militant ranks suffered severe damage when it lost many major commanders to the escalating military ops. In fact, the year 2018 turned out to be the bloodiest year of the decade in Kashmir.
By the year end, at least 586 persons were killed across Kashmir, including 267 militants, 160 civilians and 159 Indian forces personnel, according to the report of the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Kashmir-based rights group.
The year witnessed a hardening conflict marked by massive Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) followed by gunfights that inflicted a high death toll on civilians and decimated their homes, besides coming down heavily on militant outfits.
The pictures of body bags and razed homes have become a part of the present day rural as well as urban Kashmir folklores and songs on the internet.
The civilians and combatants being local Kashmiris have added to the swelling number of people participating in their funerals. The instant emotional connect created by the local feeling coupled with the growing anger against New Delhi has also been a dominant factor.
A young Kashmiri girl stands perturbed while witnessing the clashes between anti-India protesters and armed forces in Downtown area of Srinagar.
Kashmiri women watch the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat at his native village Ratsuna in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Amid sobs and tears, people watch and capture the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Tawseef Sheikh at his native village Rohmoo in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
People witnessing the joint funeral of four militants Rasik Ahmed Mir, Rouf Ahmad Mir, Umer Ramzan Mir and Nadeem Muzaffar of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind outfit at their native village Dadsara area of Tral, south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
People watch the funeral of a civilian, Liyakat Ahmed at at his native village Parigam in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Liyaqat was killed after Indian armed forces opened fire to disperse anti-India protesters during a gunfight at Sirnoo area of district Pulwama.
People watch the joint funeral of four militants Rasik Ahmed Mir, Rouf Ahmad Mir, Umer Ramzan Mir and Nadeem Muzaffar of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind outfit at their native village Dadsara in Tral.
Kashmiri men and women watch the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat at his native village Ratsuna in Tral.
People watch the funeral of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Khursheed Ahmad Malik at his native village Arabal Nikas in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
People watch the funeral of Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Mehraj Din Bangroo at his native place Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar.
Young girls crying while witnessing the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat at his native village Ratsuna area of Tral.
People watch the funeral of a civilian Shahid Ahmad at his native village Arihal area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Shahid was killed after Indian armed forces opened fire to disperse anti-India protesters during a gunfight at Drubgam in district Pulwama.
Kashmiri women and children watch the funeral of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Waseem Shah at his native village Heff in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
People watch the joint funeral of a civilian Abid Hussain Lone and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, Adnan Hizbi, at their native village Kareemabad in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Kashmiri men and women attend the funeral ceremony of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Khursheed Ahmad Malik at his native village Arabal Nikas in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
An elderly Kashmiri woman stands perplexed near the window of her house as she watches the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Sajad Ahmad Gilkar at his native place Nowhatta in Srinagar.
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