Srinagar, Feb 14: About 15,000 people gathered in Rishipora area of Tral to take part in the funeral procession of Lance Naik Mohammed Iqbal Sheikh and his father Mohi-ud-din Sheikh, killed in the attack on the Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu. Notably, Tral is known to be a stronghold of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which reportedly carried out the attack on the Army camp in Sunjuwan, killing seven – six Army men and a civilian.

Iqbal (32) served the Army for 12 years. He married Shabnama two years ago. The couple have a 18-month-old son.

The huge number in which residents turned out for the funeral procession shows their opposition to terrorism. An official was quoted as saying by PTI: “People may have attended the funeral of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in large numbers in 2016 because they feared the local terrorists, but the gathering for a jawan’s funeral procession showed they were ready to defy the diktats of terror organisations.” (Jammu And Kashmir: Pregnant Lady, Who Was Shot at During Sunjuwan Attack Delivers Baby Girl)

“What is happening is not right,” said a local resident. “These were our own people. What crime did he commit to deserve this death? The bloodshed must stop,” he added.

As per Tariq Ahmed, cousin of the soldier, Iqbal was really happy on being posted to Sunjuwan. “It was his first home state posting in his 12 years of Army service.” He also added, “Iqbal had insisted that his father come and live with him in his camp. He wanted his father to live with him so that he could avoid the harsh winter of the South Kashmir area.”

People also recalled the jovial nature of Iqbal and how he always had a smile on his face.

Sunjuwan Army Camp in Jammu was attacked by a group of JeM terrorists early on Saturday. In the attack, three terrorists were gunned down whereas, seven – six Army men and a civilian – lost their lives. The operation lasted for more than 24 hours and is regarded as the worst after the 2016 Uri attack.