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Rediff.com  » News » Tearful eyes bid farewell to Sunjuwan martyrs

Tearful eyes bid farewell to Sunjuwan martyrs

February 13, 2018 21:31 IST

IMAGE: Family members and locals carry the body of JCO Mohammad Ashraf Mir, martyred in the Sunjuwan Army Camp attack, in Kupwara on Tuesday. Photograph: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com 

Tributes were paid to the five Army men who lost their lives in a terror attack on Sunjuwan Military camp Jammu.

Thousands attend the funeral of Junior Commanding Officer Mohammad Ashraf Mir in Kupwara.

People were seen waiting for the arrival of Mir's body, which was flown to his native village in Madanpora area of Lolab in Kupwara on Tuesday afternoon.

"He was a good person. He was very helpful and lovely. We are shocked at his death. He will always remain in our hearts," said Shamsher Khan, a relative of Mir.

"He was the only earning member of the family. His death has shattered his family. He had small children. He was a loving father and moreover a caring son," said Mir's next door neighbour Ghulam Nabi Mir.

"He last visited home almost two-and-a-half months ago. He was on duty when we came to know that an encounter is going on in Jammu.

"We were fully dependent on him," said Mir's father.

Mir is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, besides his parents.

"India and Pakistan should talk in order to resolve the issue. Innocent people have been losing their lives. Today, I have lost my son, tomorrow it can be anyone's son," Mir's father said.

JCO Madan Lal Choudhary, 50, of Kathua was cremated with full military honours at his village on Monday, while the body of Havaldar Rakesh Chandra of Pauri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand was recovered from the scene of the gunfight on Monday night.

Later, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti interacted with the family members of the slain Army personnel and consoled them, the spokesperson said.

Wreath laying ceremony was held separately for Havaldar Chandra at the technical airport.

IMAGE: A large number of people attended Mir's funeral in his native village.
Photograph: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

Senior Army officers led by Lt Gen Mohan and General Officer Commanding of Tiger Division Maj Gen Sanjay Singh paid rich tributes to the slain soldier.

Bodies of all the five soldiers were flown to their home towns after the wreath-laying ceremonies, the spokesman said.

About 1,500 people gathered in Tral to take part in the funeral procession of Lance Naik Mohammed Iqbal Sheikh and his father.

As the bodies of Sheikh and his father Mohi-ud-din Sheikh were brought home, the Rishipora area echoed with the wails of the soldier's young widow, Shabnama.

Iqbal, 32, who had served the Army for 12 years, married Shabnama two years ago. Their son is 18 months old.

The area is known to be a stronghold of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which carried out the fidayeen attack on the Army camp.

"Iqbal had insisted that his father come and live with him in his camp. It was his first posting to the home state and he wanted his father to live with him so that he could avoid the harsh winter of the South Kashmir area," Tariq Ahmed, the soldier's cousin, said.

IMAGE: Women mourn the death of army officer Mohammad Iqbal Sheikh and his father during a funeral procession at Reshi Pora, Tral in Pulwama district of South Kashmir on Tuesday. Photograph: S Irfan/PTI Photo

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official said such a large gathering for the funeral of an Army man showed the local people's opposition, however nascent, to acts of terrorism.

People may have attended the funeral of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani in large numbers in 2016 because they feared the local terrorists, but the gathering for a jawan's funeral procession showed they were ready to defy the diktats of terror organisations, the official said.

"What is happening is not right," said a local resident.

"These were our own people. What crime did he commit to deserve this death? The bloodshed must stop," he added.

Another person present at the funeral recalled that Iqbal was a jovial man who always had a smile on his face.

Cousin Ahmed remembered how happy Iqbal was on being posted to Sunjuwan.

"This was his first home state posting in his 12 years of Army service during which he was posted across the country," he added.

A group of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists struck the residential quarter inside the Army camp at Sunjuwan in Jammu on Saturday, killing seven people -- six soldiers, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and father of one of the slain soldiers -- and injuring 10 others.

Three heavily-armed JeM terrorists were killed in the retaliatory action by the Army.

With inputs from Umar Ganie/Rediff.com in Srinagar.

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