Srinagar, India :Thousands of people turned out Wednesday for the funeral of a militant separatist leader killed in a shoot-out with security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Noor Mohammad Tantray, a commander in the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group, was shot dead by Indian security forces during a fierce gunfight in Pulwama district, located 14.2 miles (23 kms) from the Himalayan state’s summer capital of Srinagar, on Tuesday night.
Tantray, 47, was the operational chief of the Pakistan-based group for south Kashmir, according to Mohammad Zahid, the Pulwama district police superintendent.
Tantray was arrested in Delhi on charges in 2003 of conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released on parole in 2015, according to CNN affiliate CNN News 18.
“Noor went underground and soon became the key man of JeM in coordinating and organizing attacks at different places … He was wanted in (relation to) a number of terror offenses in south and central Kashmir,” police spokesman Manoj Pundita told CNN.
Tantray was also believed to have been the mastermind behind an attack on a Border Security Force camp near Srinagar airport that left one soldier dead in October.
At just 4 feet 3 inches (1.29m) Tantray was an instantly recognizable figure, something that police say could have attributed to his eventual death.
“He could easily get mixed up in a crowd without being noticed because of his shorter height. But at the same time, since his profile was very well known to the security agencies, his less than average height was also a disadvantage as he was easily identifiable,” said a senior police officer who wished to remain anonymous in Tantray’s hometown of Tral.