Javid AhmadSrinagar, Nov 18:
The chill, continuous downpour and restrictions imposed by the authorities could not keep mourners away from visiting Parimpora area, where slain militant Mugees Ahmad Mir once lived in a concrete and well-decorated house.
Outside, stones and bricks scattered on the deserted roads and police and CRPF men stood guard at various entry and exit points towards interiors of Parimpora amid the drizzle.
Mugees was killed in a brief gunfight with cops at Zakura area in outskirts of Srinagar on Friday evening. A police sub inspector Imran Ahmad Tak was also killed in the gunfight.
Mugees’s friend, Touseef Ahmad was arrested by police minutes before the shootout when he was walking down the lane in Gulab Bagh, Zakura area.
Mourners—mostly young and old and including relatives and friends of Mugees - made a beeline at Mugees house to pay their last respect to the slain militant.
It was around 4:45 pm on Friday when Mugees family received a phone call informing them about the Zakura shootout.
Minutes later his mother Hajra Begum, 55, asked his son Basharat to start the car without telling him the reason and urgency.
“As the duo got into the vehicle, the mother asked her son to drive towards Pantha Chowk area. At Pantha Chowk, some men asked Basharat to take U-turn and return and took Hajra along,” said a family member, wishing not to be named.
“That is where the mother met her militant son, who was about to die,” he said.
The family member said at around 9:30 pm, Hajra brought her son’s body home. As the news about death of Mugees spread, large number of people of the vicinity thronged their house.
Thousands of people including men and women participated in the funeral procession of Mugees today. His body was dressed in a black T-shirt inscribed with Islamic verse, mostly used by Islamic State militants.
The slain militant had wishes to be buried with IS flag. His family placed the IS flag on his body before being laid to rest.
“He was driven towards gun by ideology and wanted to fight for imposition of Shariah (Islamic rule) in Kashmir,” said a family member.
The claim can be collaborated with Mugees’s taste of Islamic literature. The books lied stacked on a cupboard in a room, where mourners gathered for condolence.
“Mugees was wearing a black T-shirt with Islamic verse inscribed on it when he was brought dead home. It indicated his personal interest in IS,” one of his relatives said.
When Mugees joined militancy on April 9, 2016, his family had hardly any inclination that he would choose to walk on such a path.
“Days before Mugees picked up gun, his cousin and brother-in-law Khatabullah was picked up by forces for his alleged involvement in some subversive case. Initially, some Hafiz Imtiyaz who was arrested during the encounter had named Khattab, who in turn named Mugees,” said a family member of Mugees.
He said the police raids and threats prompted Mugees to take up gun and join militant ranks.
According to the family, their militant son before joining militancy, was in the business of wooden items and ran a shop in a nearby complex.
“He was much involved in Gym practising and used to offer five-time prayers,” said his brother Basharat.
Mugees married his cousin in 2011. The couple gave birth to four daughters but the first three died soon after their birth.
His lone surviving son is four-and-a-half-month-old.
Mugees leaves behind his wife, parents, two sisters, one of who is unmarried, and a brother.
He was also believed to have remained associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM).
TuM had yesterday claimed Mugees was their district commander for Pulwama.
Sources said before his killing, Mugees had come to Srinagar and stayed in the house of his old friend, Touseef who was arrested by police and is being interrogated.
“The car they were travelling in Zakura is owned by Touseef,” they said.
According to police, the police party had gone for an anti-militancy operation in Zakura area following specific information about movement of militants and the purpose was something related to “weapons.”
“They certainly were travelling to do something with weapons—either weapon snatching or dealing. A cash of Rs 3 lakhs and few grenades were recovered from the vehicle,” said a top police officer.
He said police has learnt that Touseef and Mugees used to stay together for some time.
“Touseef worked as an OGW for Mugees and had been providing logistic support to him,” said the officer.
Police is investigating the motive behind the duo visiting Gulab Bagh area of Zakura.
“Tauseef deboarded the vehicle and was apprehended while walking down the lane. While Mugees, who travelled further, was intercepted and a shootout happened in which a police officer was killed and another cop injured. Mugees was also injured and succumbed somewhere while fleeing,” said the police officer.
He said they suspect that third person was also involved in the action as Mugees’s weapon was not recovered but was taken by someone close to him.
Mugees, according to a police, was involved in at least two militancy cases including the one in Anantnag district.
With the killing of Mugees, four militants from Srinagar are active and enlisted in police records. They include Danish of Zainkote, Ishtiyaq Hamal and Mehrajuddin Bangroo of downtown Srinagar and Mohammad Eisa Fazli, a resident of Shadab Colony, Soura.
Danish, Hamal and Bangroo are believed to have been active in militancy since 2016 while Eisa, an engineering student, joined militancy in August this year after he left studies at Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU), Rajouri and joined militant ranks.