“Later, more militants appeared to join the funeral prayers and gun salute”, said an eyewitness.
Though there was no shutdown called by the separatists, yet south Kashmir remained shut against the civilian and militant killings in an encounter in Arwani area in Anantnag district on Friday. Reports said that at least five militants appeared in the funeral, which was attended by thousands of people, and offered a gun-salute. Mattoo had joined militant ranks in 2015 and was made Lashkar district commander after the killing of Majid Zarger.
While Mir hailed from Frasbal area of Pampore, Wani was from Heff Shremal of Shopian district.
“The condition of three fully devastated residential houses at Arwani all their household goods burnt down to ashes is a glaring example of the Indian establishment against the Kashmiri people”. Both had joined militancy after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani past year.
By late afternoon, firing had stopped but two houses had caught fire during the encounter. This act was a revenge by Lashkar-e-Taiba for killing of Mattoo and two others.
The terrorists fired some shots at the Army vehicles in Bijbehara area and fled from the spot, a police official said. Police said crowd threw stones and tried to break the security cordon.
After Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, a close associate of Burhan Wani, was killed in an encounter on May 27, Mattoo is the second big success for Indian security forces.
India and Pakistan traded mortar shells, heavy automatics and small arms fire in Naushera sector on Thursday afternoon as later troops continued targeting forward Indian positions and civilian areas without any provocation at frequent intervals in border Rajouri and Poonch districts for the past many days. In the morning itself, a civilian identified as Mohammad Ashraf Khar, 34, was killed in the crossfire between the forces and the militants.
Police sources said the incident took place on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Bijbehara area.
Ahsan Mushtaq, 15, was also killed after he was hit by bullets near the site of the encounter, the police said.