This Article is From Jan 26, 2016

'90s Revisted? Kashmir Witnesses Gun Salute At Terrorist's Funeral

Over the one year, 70 locals have joined terror groups in south Kashmir.

Srinagar: A video clip showing terrorists giving a gun salute at the funeral of a colleague in Pulwama has given rise to concerns. Last week, thousands attended the funeral of Shakir Ahmad, a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist who died in an encounter. The clip which surfaced since shows a group amid the crowd flaunting guns and opening fire in the air.

Such displays are a throwback to the'90s, when militancy was at its peak in the Valley. The opposition says Kashmir is being pushed back to the days of turmoil.

Over the one year, 70 locals have joined terror groups in south Kashmir. Leading the charge is 21-year-old tech savvy Burhan Wani, who is using social media to draw followers.

"If bullets are being fired, gun salutes are given to militants on their funerals, that's also graver indication how there is absolutely no semblance of law and order," said Junaid Mattu, spokesman of the National Conference.

Claiming such incidents are aimed at glorifying militancy, the BJP, which ruled the state for 10 months in alliance with the People's Democratic Party, have demanded immediate action.  "The administration should take stern action," said Altaf Thakur, BJP media in-charge in Kashmir.

The state has been under Governor's Rule since the death of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed last month. His daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who was expected to succeed him, is yet to take oath and is keeping everyone guessing.  

Meanwhile, the growing crowds at the funerals of slain terrorists not only indicate a groundswell for separatism, police say the crowds often try to provide cover for holed up militants during encounters.

"People are made to come out and protest. It sometimes leads to violence that's intended to divert our attention and help terrorists escape," said Javid Gilani, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir.

Sources in the security agencies say it is a disturbing development, because in the early 1990s, suspicion of terrorists' presence at funerals had led to security forces opening fire that resulted into many casualties.