People bid tearful adieu to Lashkar commander Junaid


People bid a tearful adieu to 22-year-old Lashkar-i-Toiba commander Junaid Matoo, who was killed in a gunfight in Arwani village of Anantnag district on Friday.
He was laid to rest at his native place in Khudwani village of Kulgam district.
At least 12 back-to-back funerals were offered for the deceased militant. Some of his colleagues turned up at the site and offered gun salute to him.
Matoo’s body was recovered from the debris of a house in Arwani, which had been set on fire after being blown up with explosives, early Saturday morning. 
Since early morning, people from several areas of Kulgam and Anantnag districts thronged the local Eid Gah to have a glimpse of Matoo.  His body had been wrapped in a Pakistani flag.
Emotional scenes were witnessed at the ground. Women wailed and dozens of them went unconscious during the funeral.
People shouted pro-Islam, pro-Pakistan, pro-Lashkar and pro-Hizb slogans.  
His first funeral was offered at around 9am and continued till 3pm. An estimated 20,000 people turned up at the funeral.
Five gun-wielding militants, some affiliated with Hizb, fired three-volley gun shots in air as mark of respect to the deceased commander. 
People were seen jostling each other and make desperate attempts to shake hands with and touch the militants.
Matoo had joined militant ranks in 2014 when he was studying in the BA Ist year. He shot into limelight after he killed two policemen at the busy Anantnag Bus Stand in June 2016. 
The attack had been captured by a CCTV camera and went viral on social networking sites.
He succeeded Majid Zargar as commander for Kulgam district. Zargar had been killed in a fierce encounter in the same village in November last year.
Matoo’s mother had died of cancer in the year 2010 when he was only a middle school student. He is survived by his father, Manzoor Ahmad, three brothers and two sisters.
His brother Parvez was detained by police on charges of aiding militants and is currently lodged at district jail Anantnag. However, on the pleas of the local Auqaf Committee, he was released on parole and participated in the last rites of his brother.
Matoo, his father said, messaged him on WhatsApp during the gunfight.
“He said he has been trapped and asked me to pray for his martyrdom,” said Manzoor.  

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