Thousands gather in Kokernag to attend last rites of LeT commander
Qayoom Khan
Srinagar, July 1: Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants including a top commander – whom police blame for masterminding deadly attacks on cops – were killed in a fierce gunfight at Dialgam area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Saturday.
Earlier, a woman and a youth have been killed after forces used pellet guns and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting people.
The LeT commander Bashir Ahmad Wani alias Bashir Lashkar, an A plus-plus category militant who carried 10 lakh rupees bounty on head, of Sopshali Kokernag and a Pakistani militant identified as Abu Maz were killed in a joint operation of army and police at Dialgam. Police said that Bashir Lashkar masterminded Achabal attack in which six cops including SHO Feroz were killed.
Earlier, a joint team of army’s 19RR, CRPF and SOG laid a siege at Tangwara, a small hamlet adjacent to Brenty village of Dialgam late last night following specific information about the presence of some militants. Soon after the news about the encounter spread in the area, a large number of people took to streets and tried to approach towards the encounter site amid pelting stones on the forces, they said, adding that forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting people.
A police official said gunfight between the militants and the government forces raged after siege was laid in the area following specific inputs. A woman Tahira Begium (43) w/o Abdul Rashid Chopan of Brenty village sustained serious injuries and was shifted to nearby hospital for treatment in a firing incident during the protests, police said. However, the doctors who operated upon the woman declared her brought dead on arrival, it said.
The locals however blamed forces for killing of women during protests.”While the cordon was being laid some militants outside a house fired upon the security personnel which was retaliated. In the cross firing one lady sustained injuries and later on succumbed,” the police spokesman said. Amid siege persisted, another youth injured in clashes died.
Reports said amid siege, at least five persons received injuries after paramilitary CRPF and police used tear smoke shells and pellet guns to disperse the group of youth who were approaching towards the encounter site at Tangwara. “All the injured have been hospitalised, however, a seriously injured Shadab succumbed to injuries,” they added. Police said the 17 civilians who were inside the house where militants were trapped were rescued.
After the house was cleared of civilians, police and army blasted the house and it resulted in the killing of the two militants. Soon after the news about the killing of two militants including Bashir, clashes broke out at Kokernag, Pulwama and areas adjoining to Dialgam between youths and government forces. Many civilians were injured in the clashes amid complete shutdown.
Thousands of people gathered at the home of Bashir Lashkari in Kokernag area of the district to take part in his last rites.
A witness said that “a sea of people” are waiting for the mortal remains of Lashkari in his ancestral Soafshali village.
The body of Lashkari and other militant killed in a gunfight with government forces in Dialgam area today are in the custody of army at the camp of 19 RR in Larkipora, said an official.

Resistance camp calls for shutdown, govt to clamp restrictions today

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called a shutdown on Sunday against killing of two civilians and injuring of many others in forces’ action in Dialgam area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Two civilians including a woman were killed and over two dozen others injured after forces opened fire on protesters near the site of a gunfight.
Two militants, including Lashkar commander Bashir Kashkari were killed in the firefight that raged in Breithi-Batpora village.
“We appeal to Kashmiri people to observe complete shutdown tomorrow to pay tributes to those killed in Dialgam,” said a statement, issued by the JRL.
“Draconian and lawless laws give forces complete impunity to kill the people of Kashmir, especially youth at their will. The brutal use of force on the peaceful protesters at Dialgam, Anantnag has once again brought to fore the complete disregard for human life in Kashmir especially the youth so that our race perishes,” the JRL said
In the joint statement, the leadership said that at Brenti, Batapora, Dialgam young Shadab Ahmed and the Tahira Begum became the fresh targets of the forces brutality while as dozens of other protesters sustained bullet injuries due to aggressive firing by the forces. The leadership said among the dozens of injured youth, Aqib and Yasir are battling for life. They said countless bullets were fired by the forces directly at the peaceful protesters, and the aim was to make the people pay for protesting by causing fatal injuries.
Paying rich tributes to two slain civilians including the lady at Dailgam, the Joint Resistance Leadership urged people of Kashmir to observe a complete shutdown tomorrow to express their resistance and protest against the cold blooded murder of the two civilians and the injured and to show solidarity with the militant martyrs.
The leadership said that while forces are selectively killing our youth on one hand, on the other entire pro-freedom leadership has been caged, and we not even allowed to express sympathy and solace with the bereaved families. The ruling regime has crossed all limits of repression and killings; imposition of curfews, restrictions and curbs has become an everyday affair in Kashmir.
The Joint Resistance Leadership also paid rich tributes to the two militants Bashir Lashkari and Azad Ahmed and hailed their “sacrifice”.
The Joint Resistance Leadership questioned the silence observed by the international community over the killing spree and the unabated human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in Kashmir, stating that the criminal silence adopted by the world community is raising the confidence of rulers in Kashmir to kill Kashmiris at will and to muzzle a genuine political movement through military might. The leadership urged the international human rights bodies to play their role in curbing the growing rights abuses in Kashmir, which are touch a new low each day
Meanwhile, according to the District Magistrate Srinagar, restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC will remain in force under the jurisdictions of Police Stations Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal, Maisuma and Kralkhud in district Srinagar on July 02(Sunday) as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.