SRINAGAR – Families of civilians killed in Hyderpora “encounter” in Srinagar held a protest here on Wednesday, demanding justice for the victims and the return of their bodies. The families are camping in Press enclave here and were continuing with their protest despite freezing cold seeking bodies of their loved ones.
“Mudassir was not an OGW. He was a doctor by profession,” his wife holding minor daughter in lap told reporters. “His daughter speaks only one word Baba, Baba and show her Baba’s face,” she said. Regarding Imran from Gool, one of the slain in the “encounter”, she said, “he was not a militant. He was office boy.”
A controversy had erupted over Monday’s encounter in Hyderpopra following conflicting claims about the two deceased civilians as their family members contested the police’s charge that they were “terror associates”.
According to the police, Pakistani militant, and his local associate Mohammad Amir, along with two civilians—Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul – were killed in the encounter in Hyderpora locality.
On Wednesday, the families of Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudassir held a protest at Press Enclave in the city, demanding that their bodies be returned to them as they were not militants or OGWs.
Police had said the bodies of all the four killed in the encounter were buried in the Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Altaf’s brother Abdul Majeed said as a ‘numberdar’ (revenue official), he remains in constant touch with the police and they would have informed him if his brother was involved in militancy.
He was doing business in Hyderpora Bypass for the last 30 years. He rented the building and “we had furnished their (tenants) verification in police station Saddar. The police should have contacted us if there was anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Functionaries joined the sit in protest of the kin of the persons who were killed in Hyderpora, demanding handing over of the bodies to their kin.
The functionaries, who joined the sit in include Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar, YNC Provincial President Salman Ali Sagar, Abid Wani, Irfan Zehgeer, Sheikh Ovaise, Qazi Hanan, Abrar Mustafa and others.
Provincial Vice President Ahsan Pardesi, block President Amira Kadal Rafiq Ilahi also joined the protests later.
Echoing the demand of protesting kin of slain persons, who were killed at Hyderpora, Imran and Salman asked the J&K administration to handover the dead bodies to their kin for last rites. They also reiterated the party’s demand for impartial probe into the killings citing the precedence and pattern to fake encounters in Kashmir.
“The contrasting version of the killings have sent across a wave of fear across Kashmir. Varying versions have raised the misgivings among the people. Allegations of using unarmed as human shields have also surfaced. Violation of required SOPs and rule of law with impunity in Kashmir is highly unfortunate. We are here to express our unison with the kin of the slain. The victim families should be heard and their demands should be met,” they said.