Reuters thinks it’s “unusual.” A participant said: “They gave their precious lives and achieved martyrdom for a better future for us, they are our heroes.” (Thanks to Twostellas for the link.)
KHELLEN, India (Reuters) – In an unusual display of support for separatist guerrillas, more than 6,000 people marched in the streets of Indian Kashmir on Thursday, shouting slogans to mourn the death of rebels killed during a mosque siege.
Authorities said it was the first time in 18 months that so many people turned out for a funeral, held a day after Indian soldiers shot dead five militants holed up in the mosque.
Security forces do not normally release dead militants to relatives as the authorities prefer to bury them, but police handed over the bodies to avoid trouble after hundreds of villagers gathered to demand their return.
“They gave their precious lives and achieved martyrdom for a better future for us, they are our heroes,” said Mohammad Rajab, 65, a resident of Khellen.
Khellen is in the district of Pulwama, about 30 miles south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, where Muslim separatist guerrillas have been waging a bloody battle against Indian rule since 1989.