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Despite barricades, people visit Shopian village to participate in funeral of Zeenat-ul-Islam

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Shopian: The government forces have laid barricades in a bid to prevent people especially males from visiting Sugan, the native village of Zeenat-ul-Islam, a top Al Badr commander who was killed along with his associate Shakeel Dar in Yaripora area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district late on Saturday evening.
Reports said that despite barricades, people are opting alternatives routes, particularly open fields, to reach the village and participate in the funeral prayers of Zeenat-ul-Islam. Preparations were also under way for the funeral of Shakeel at his native village Chilipora, also in Shopian district.
A Bachelor in Science, Zeenat-ul-Islam had joined militant ranks in 2008 and was associated with Al-Badr. He was soon arrested and booked under Public Safety Act. He was later released and married. He has a daughter. In 2015, a police official against he joined militant ranks in 2015, associating with Lashker-e-Toiba momentarily before he joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and later returned to “strengthen” his parent party—Al-Badr, the police official said.
On Saturday, Zeenat-ul-Islam alias Dr Usman and his associate were caught unawares as Army’s 34 Rashtriya Rifles personnel came in sumo vehicles and cordoned off the kathpora village in Yaripora.
The SOG of J&K Police and the CRPF joined the army before encounter with the hiding militants was established, officials said. There was a brief exchange of fire, leading to the killing of Zeenat-ul-Islam (30), listed in police records as category A++ militant and carried a bounty of Rs 12.5 lakh on his head.
Zeenat-ul-Islam had escaped several occasions by giving government forces a slip during search operations including a major encounter in Dragad-Sugan on 1 April 2018 in which seven militants from Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were killed.
Zeenat-ul-Islam, as per police worked with Al Badr militant outfit from 2008 and was soon arrested and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Considered as an IED expert , Islam’s killing is seen ‘a big blow to militancy’ in Kashmir, a senior police official said. “He was a recruiter also,” the official said.
The police had handed over bodies of Zeenat-ul-Islam and his associate Shakeel to respective families midnight, around 1:30 a.m., on Sunday.
Asked about reasons to place barricades to prevent the participation of people in unreal of Zeenat-ul-Islam, the official feigned ignorance. “I don’t know about it,” the official added.

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