Militant brother killed
Srinagar: The happiest day in the life of would-be bride Rubina Jan, 26, ended in tragedy on Tuesday.
Rubina's big day had finally come and her family in Sopore was set to receive the baraat later in the day after a modest party on Monday night during which her friends and relatives adorned her hands with henna amid melodious strains of popular folk songs.
But early on Tuesday, the family received a shock. Rubina's elder brother Liyaqat Ahmad Lone, a father of three who joined militancy early this year, was trapped in a security cordon along with another militant in Galoora village of the border district of Kupwara. Both militants were killed in the gunfight.
Family sources said Liyaqat's younger brother Javed got married on Monday and younger sister Rubina's marriage was set to be solemnised on Tuesday.
"We had planned a simple marriage and only four people were scheduled to accompany the groom. But early today we received a call that Liyaqat has been trapped. Later we learnt he has been killed," a cousin of Liyaqat, who refused to be named, told The Telegraph.
"The marriage has been cancelled and we are all in a state of shock. Thousands of people joined his funeral, including close relatives of the groom," the cousin added.
The relative said Liyaqat, 37, joined militancy in February after he left home for some business-related work.
"He was in the fruit business and we were all surprised when he joined militancy. That is because he was married and had three children aged nine, five and two," the cousin said.
Police sources said Liyaqat had been arrested for alleged links with militancy in the past and he had spent a couple of years in jail.
A police spokesperson said Lashkar-e-Toiba militants Liyaqat and Furqan Rasheed, a resident of Langate in Kupwara, were killed on Tuesday in a joint operation by the 30 Rashtriya Rifles and the Special Operations Group of the police.
The police said Liyaqat had been involved in a number of militancy-related incidents, including the recent murder of Hakim ur Rahman Sultani, a separatist activist close to Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The police spokesperson did not elaborate why Liyaqat killed the Hurriyat activist, who was the father of four minor girls.
The spokesperson said Liyaqat and two other Lashkar militants - Gani Khawaja of Kralgund and Majid Mir of Nowpora - killed Sultani.
The police claim is surprising because the Lashkar has no history of animosity with men close to Geelani, unlike Hizbul Mujahideen rebelQayoom Najar who killed some activists close to the separatist leader, alleging they were in cahoots with security forces.