“It was a sea of people”, scribes who returned from the funeral of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Tauseef Ahmad Wagay, who was killed in a daylong gunfight at Chadoora Budgam, said.
Thousands of people had reached Kanjikula village of Yaripora in the southern Kashmir district of Kulgam for the last glimpse of Tauseef, reports and eyewitnesses said.
People from surrounding areas of Yaripora started to throng Yaripora from Tuesday night only, locals said, to attend the funeral.
As the body of Tauseef, 22, was lifted, the scenes were poignant amid the chanting of pro-freedom slogans, hailing the “martyr”.
Five back-to-back funeral prayers were offered, one of which was lead by Tauseef’s elder brother, Irshad Ahmad.
Tauseef had joined militancy a year ago and was considered close associate of, Dawood sheikh—top militant of Hizbul Mujahideen, who was killed in March last year in Bachroo village of Kulgam.
“He was working initially as OGW for Dawood,” locals and relatives of Tauseef said. In 2011, Tauseef, then 16 was arrested for militant links and interrogated several times, his family revealed.
“He passed 10th and 12th class examination while in jail and was released in late 2015,” said one of his friends.
While at home after being released, he was regularly being called to the police station for questioning, his family said.
In September, he suddenly went missing after which his family filed a missing complaint in the police station but were informed that he had joined militancy.
“Since then we have faced regular harassment from the forces,” said his family members. Tauseef’s elder brother, who is “Rukn” or member of Jama’at-e-Islami was arrested in 2016 agitation for organizing pro-freedom rallies.
Tauseef was one among the ten siblings, five sisters, and four brothers, one of whom had died a few years ago.