In Pictures: Multiple funeral prayers offered to slain Junaid Matoo; Thousands participate

Srinagar

Thousands of people on Saturday marched towards Khudwani village in southern Kashmir’s Kulgam to participate in the funeral of Junaid Matoo—Lashker-i-Toiba militant commander, who was killed in a day long gun battle in nearby Arwani village of Islamabad district along with two other associates.

KL Image/Shah Hilal

Matoo’s body was taken to his native village this morning, reports said. The mood in the area is emotional and people, young, old—women and men thronged walking on foot miles to participate in the last rites of Junaid.

Locals said that at least four funerals have been offered and more people are yet pouring in.

KL Image/Shah Hilal

Matoo succeeded Majid Zargar after the later along with his associate was killed in an encounter in the same village (Arwani) in November last year. Majid was from Gobal village of same area.

Matoo raised into the militant ranks after he carried out an attack, killing two cops including an Assistant Sub Inspector of JK Police on busy KP road near Bus stand, Islamabad in June last year.

KL Image/Shah Hilal

He was caught on camera fleeing from the spot after the attack along with another militant.

Matoo was active in Kulgam-Islamabad belt and police officials say he was involved in a number of attacks in the area.

KL Image/Shah Hilal

On Friday morning, joint forces launched cordon around few residential house in Arwani, where he and his two associates were hiding. Forces faced day long resistance from local youth, who pelted stones on them resulting in intense cashes. The clashes turned ugly after forces fired pellets and bullets killing two youth and injuring dozens badly.

Forces, however, razed at least three houses to ground and managed to neutralize all the three militants.

The other two militants killed in the encounter were identified as Nasir Wani of Heff village in Shopian and Adil Mushtaq Mir of Frestbal Pampore.

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