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  India   All India  08 May 2018  Gun salute from mom to militant

Gun salute from mom to militant

Published : May 8, 2018, 2:24 am IST
Updated : May 8, 2018, 2:24 am IST

Saddam Paddar and 4 others were eliminated in Shopian.

(Photo: PTI/Representational)
 (Photo: PTI/Representational)

Srinagar: The funerals of slain militants witnessing participation of huge crowds in Kashmir is not a new phenomenon but on Monday,  a new ingredient was added to it, sending alarming bells in the security forces’ echelons.

Amid fifteen back-to-back funerals since Sunday evening, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Saddam Hussain Paddar’s mother offered him a gun salute using the rifle of Syed Naveed Mushtaq, a police deserter, witnesses said. Paddar alias Abu Zaid was district commander of the Hizb, the frontline indigenous militant outfit of Kashmir, for southern Shopian. He was along with four other militants including an assistant university professor killed in a 6-hour-long gun battle with security forces in Shopian’s Badigam village on Sunday.

Before the burial of Paddar and another slain militant Bilal Moulvi in their native village Heff, his (Paddar’s) mother fired three-volley salute which otherwise is a ceremonial act performed at military funerals and sometimes also police funerals.

Syed Naveed whose gun she used had, sometime ago, decamped with four Self Loading Rifles from the guardroom of the Food Corporation of Indian facility at Chandpora in Kashmir’s central district of Budgam where he was posted to join the militant ranks. He was among several militants who turned up at the funeral of Paddar and was “in tears” while offering ‘namaz-e-jinaza’ or funeral prayer, witnesses said.

“Militants’ turning up at the funerals of their compatriots and offering them gun salutes is not something new. But it is a matter of concern if the mother of a slain militant has jumped the bandwagon,” said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The witnessed said that while Naveed firmly held the gun, Paddar’s mother pressed the trigger evoking loud screams of ‘God is great’ and ‘We want freedom’ from those present. A group of militants also showed up and separately fired volleys in the air from their AK 47 rifles to pay “last respects” to Paddar and Moulvi, reports said. Paddar was a close associate of Burhan Wani, the popular Hizb commander whose killing in July 2016 had triggered months of unrest in Kashmir during which more than eighty people had died in security forces actions. Meanwhile, Kashmir Valley observed a complete shut down on Monday to mourn and protest the killing of five militants and an equal number of civilians during the encounter and subsequent street clashes in Shopian and its neighbourhood.

The call for the one-day strike had been issued by ‘Joint Resistance Leadership’, an alliance of key separatist leaders. While shops and other businesses remained shut across the Valley as a precautionary measure.

Tags: hizb-ul-mujahideen