Bandipora family claims kin killed in “fake gunfight”, police refute allegation

Oct 12, 2021 | Brutality by Occupying Forces

Srinagar: Hours after Jammu and Kashmir police said that a Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant was killed in a gunfight in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Monday, the slain’s family alleged that he was killed in a “fake gunfight”.

According to the police official handout, in the wee hours of Monday a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, 13RR of the army and 47Bn of CRPF in Gund Jahangir village area of Bandipora.

The police said that after making contact with militants, a gunfight started in which one militant identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar (also known as Kakroo) affiliated with militant outfit LeT (TRF) was killed and his body was retrieved from the site.

Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, 25-year-old Dar’s cousin, told The Kashmir Walla that the family searched for him everywhere after he disappeared to know his whereabouts, but couldn’t trace him, “till we came to know that he was killed in a gunfight today. It was a fake gunfight.”

The Kashmir police chief, Vijay Kumar, told The Kashmir Walla that the family’s allegations are “baseless and incorrect”.

On 5 October, Mohammad Shafi alias Sonu, a Sumo Drivers Association President was killed by suspected militants at Shahgund area of Bandipora.

According to the police, four militant associates were arrested in Bandipora on Sunday, who according to the police were behind Shafi’s killing.

“However one of the OGWs involved in the shooting identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar alias Kotru resident is absconding and has joined the militant ranks,” the police had said.

But the family says the day Shafi was killed Dar was working in his paddy fields and returned home in the evening.

“Next day he was working with me in the paddy fields,” said Khan, his cousin. “It was around 11:30 am when he received a call from the army inquiring about his whereabouts.”

“We were busy harvesting when a friend of his called him on a phone that the army was looking for him. Soon after he got another call, and this time it was the army that was calling him to immediately report to them,” Khan said.

Khan said after the call Dar immediately changed his work clothes and left to report to the army. “He told me that he is going to meet the army and left the place,” Khan said.

Khan added the moment Dar came out of the paddy field, and headed towards the street, they saw the army vehicles heading towards the same direction.

“We don’t know whether he was picked up by the army on the same day,” said Khan. “But, an hour after he left we tried his cell phone and it was switched off. After that there were no whereabouts of my cousin.”

Khan further added that the same day when Dar disappeared, his family that included his father, brother, and two brother-in-laws were also picked up by the police.

Earlier, taking on to official Twitter handler, Kashmir Zone Police quoting IGP wrote, “Killed militant has been identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar affiliated with proscribed militant outfit LeT (TRF). He was involved in recent civilian killings at Shahgund Bandipora (sic).”