In what could be an indication of the winds of change blowing in Kashmir Valley, a large number of people are now participating in the funeral of policemen who were killed in action against the terrorists. Earlier the people avoided going to the funerals of the men in Khakis as they feared that insurgents groups might get angry, and could harm them. But recently the mood seems to have changed and it was visible when a large number of people participated in the funeral prayers of special police officer Mohd Shafi, who was killed in a gun battle with terrorists in Kunzar area of Baramulla district. Sources tell that thousands of people from villages around his native village Chanibal, Pattan gathered after they heard the news of his killing.
The coffin of the young officer was wrapped in the national flag and was carried by people on their shoulders in the presence of senior police, and army officials. The large attendance of people at the funeral of a local policemen who was killed in a gunfight terrorists has surprised everyone, say sources, as this has not happened in the recent past. Locals said that Shafi was one among them, and people had realized the futility of gun culture which had taken the state to nowhere. Another local said that the people now wanted peace, and safe environment for the future generation.
Senior police officers at the funeral also observed that there is a marked change in the mood of the people and it was now on the political leadership to resolve the problems of the people. The locals in Pattan also grieved at the loss of the family of the police officer, and demanded compensation should be paid to him at the earliest. Intelligence officials meanwhile opine that bringing the people back into mainstream would need a major effort from both the sides of the government, and the security forces. The elected government should assuage the feelings of the local population, and also take firm measures against vested stakeholders in the Kashmir issue who want violence to go on forever.