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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Jul 18, 2017, 12:17 AM; last updated: Jul 18, 2017, 12:17 AM (IST)

Tral residents gather to mourn soldier’s death

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 17

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Buchoo village in south Kashmir’s Tral sub-district after news about the death of a local soldier, Mudassir Ahmad Rather, 37, spread in the area.

Mudassir, a young soldier of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, was killed in the Balakote sector of Poonch district this morning. His body will be flown to Kashmir on Tuesday.

A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Victor Force headquarters at Awantipora before the body is sent to his ancestral village for last rites.

Villagers remember Mudassir as a humble young man who followed in the footsteps of his elder brother, Farooq Ahmad, who also serves in the Army. He served for 17 years.

Tral sub-district is usually in news for the presence of a large number of militants and is also the native place of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani, but the area is also home to scores of Army men, many of whom are officers. Among more than 300 soldiers from south Kashmir who serve in the Army, a sizeable number belongs to the Tral area. “He (Mudassir) had come home on holidays only some weeks ago,” said Abdul Gani, a local.

Mudassir is the son of a former political activist, Muhammad Afzal, who remained associated with senior political leader late Ali Muhamad Naik for most of his life.

Mudassir got married six years ago to a woman from the neighbouring Bargam village. They have two sons, Burhan (7) and Mehrab (4).

The slain soldier’s family had shifted to Tral town temporarily as a new house was under construction at his ancestral village. He, however, didn’t live to see his new house.

A villager said the Army had deliberately deployed Kashmiri soldiers on the borders. “This is a new trend,” he said.

The news of Mudassir’s death reached the area at a time when the entire area observed a shutdown for the third consecutive day to mourn the death of three JeM militants, killed in an encounter on Saturday.

While the schools reopened today, Tral was the only area where the educational institutions remained shut.

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