In a bizarre twist to last month's deadly attack on the Indian Army's base camp in Uri that left 19 soldiers dead, the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba has now claimed responsibility for the attack, which was earlier blamed on Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Two days back, posters of Muhammad Anas, alias Abu Siraqa, a suspected LeT militant, who was allegedly killed in the Uri attack, started appearing in Gujranwala town of Pakistan’s Punjab province, one of the hotbeds of militancy in the neighboring country.
Muhammad Anas has been described as a resident of Bada Nullah, near Girjakh, in Gujranwala.
The poster exhorts people to gather in Nawab Chowk of Gujranwala on 25 October for participation in the funeral in absentia of Muhammad Anas, who was one of the four attackers killed in Uri on 18 September.
"The funeral in absentia of Sirqa, who drank from the cup of martyrdom and dispatched 177 Hindu soldiers to hell, will be held at ever Evergreen Park, Nawab Chowk, Gujranwala on 25 October. Hafeez Sayeed will deliver a special address," the poster circulated on WhatsApp and social media, said.
In the poster, the picture of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s parent organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, appears alongside Siraqa, calling people to attend the last rites of the 'martyr' killed in the Uri attack.
The attack sparked political and diplomatic crises in the south Asian region, dragging the relations between the two countries to an all time low in recent past with hawks in India calling for a retaliatory attack "to teach Pakistan a lesson".
"The posters started appearing two days ago. It was when we first saw that the funeral in absentia was to be held here in the town. The posters were pasted outside the gate of the mosques and in the main town," Saik Shafi, a journalist working for a local daily in Gujranwala, said.
"Although many residents had gathered in the park, the prayers did not take place. Many left the venue disappointed and it was not clear why the funeral prayers did not take place," he added.
India had blamed the attack on another Pakistan based militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad, whose chief Masood Azhar is wanted in many cases of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other states of India.
Recently, India unsuccessfully tried to list Azhar as a UN designated terrorist at the latest Geneva meeting after China blocked the move.
Two days back, posters of Muhammad Anas, alias Abu Siraqa, a suspected LeT militant, who was allegedly killed in the Uri attack, started appearing in Gujranwala town of Pakistan’s Punjab province, one of the hotbeds of militancy in the neighboring country
The Uri attack and the crisis in Kashmir sparked a war of words between the two countries at the UN with Pakistan denying any involvement and accusing India of using the attack to cover up its reign of human rights abuses in the restive state.
At least 94 civilians have been killed in retaliatory action against protesters in the valley to curb freedom protests that swept the region since the last four months.
The separatist sponsored shutdown and subsequent curfew and restrictions is going to complete four months on 8 November, with no sign of any thaw in street protests that have crippled the state after the killing of Burhan Wani on 8 July.
Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 17:35 PM