Demands of judicial probe, return of bodies after civilian killings in Kashmir encounter

Nov 18, 2021 | Brutality by Occupying Forces

Jammu and Kashmir’s political leaders on Tuesday expressed their outrage and demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of two civilians during an anti-insurgency operation by security forces against terrorists at Hyderpora on Monday evening in which two suspected terrorists were also killed.

The family members of the two civilians – Altaf Ahmad, the owner of the shopping complex where the incident happened, and Mudasir Gul, who was one of the tenants of the building – killed during a faceoff between security forces and two suspected terrorists on Monday night, said that they were innocent.

Ahmad’s family alleged that he was used as a “human shield” by the forces and killed in “cold blood”, though police described both of the slain civilians as “militant associates” who were killed in cross-firing.

People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti targeted the Central government for a what she described as a “culture of impunity” in Kashmir.

“Using innocent civilians as human shields, getting them killed in cross firing & then conveniently labeling them as OGWs(over ground workers) is part of GOIs rulebook now. Imperative that a credible judicial enquiry is done to bring out the truth & put an end to this rampant culture of impunity,” she tweeted. 

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah demanded an impartial and credible inquiry into the encounter at Hyderpora.

“There are far too many questions being raised about the encounter & about the people killed.

There have been numerous instances of fake encounters in the past and the questions raised about this #hyderporaencounter need to be answered swiftly & in a credible manner,” he said on Twitter.

Besides the two civilians, two suspected terrorists were also killed during the operation in Hyderpora in Srinagar. Police said the terrorists had been hiding inside the shopping complex in one of the rooms hired by Gul. Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, identified one of the two slain terrorists as Bilal Bhai alias Hyder, who is believed to be from Pakistan. The second suspected terrorist is from Ramban in the Jammu region and his family has been called for identification.

Spokesperson of Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and senior CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami demanded a judicial probe into the civilian killings, also urging the administration to immediately hand over their bodies to respective families for last rites.

“Another tragedy happened yesterday during the Hyderpora encounter in which two civilians lost their lives. We are passing through a terrible phase… Now, what story will emerge and what interpretation will the government give it? Their families are crying that they are innocent,” he said.

“We demand a judicial inquiry to investigate the truth. The slain won’t come back but at least their families will get to know what happened,” he said.

President of People’s Conference Sajad Lone demanded a transparent description of events at Hyderpora.

“In the midst of conflicting claims in the Hyderpora encounter, the least we deserve is a transparent description of what happened by a neutral institution. This is neither the first time nor the last time. @manojsinha_ you have the opportunity to assert that human lives matter,” Lone said.

Apni Party leader and Srinagar municipal corporation mayor Junaid Azim Mattu said, “Grave and serious allegations emerging from the Hyderpora encounter.Request Hon’ble LG @manojsinha_ Sahab to order an impartial and time-bound probe to ascertain the truth. Hope the truth prevails. The families of the two civilians should be heard and heard dispassionately.”

Hurriyat Conference, led by its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, strongly condemned the “gruesome” killings of civilians.

“The silence of the international community and civil society in India in the face of acute violation of human rights by the state has made the life of people living in Kashmir hell,” the conglomerate said in a statement.

It demanded justice to those killed in the incident and the bodies of the deceased be immediately returned to their families for their last rites and burial.

HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times