Srinagar: National Conference on Wednesday sought a time-bound inquiry into the “circumstances leading to the killing of three persons at an encounter site in Hokarsar area of Srinagar” while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti asked the JK administration to come clean.
In a statement, NC spokesperson said that the versions of people and family pertaining to the killing of three people at an encounter site in Srinagar suburb are contradictory, therefore the situation necessitates the constitution of a fact-finding team that could reveal the circumstances that will probe the matter on a fast track basis.
“The police version is that the trio was militants who refused to surrender during the gunfight were killed, but the version of families of the slain is contradictory to that of the police version. It is for the government now to clear the ambiguity leading to the death of the three persons. We have been hearing from government quarters that there would be zero tolerance for human rights violations but on the ground, such high-pitched claims emanating from government stands debunked in wake of such killings,” the NC spokesperson said.
In a tweet, Mehbooba Mufti said:“Worrying that in the past few months after the Shopian fake encounter other families too in J&K have alleged that their sons were innocent & killed in a staged encounter. Authorities need to come clean on this.”
“The incident of killing of three persons in Hokersar area needs a judicial probe as the families of the slain persons have refuted the allegations of the security forces that they were militants,’ CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami said.
“Media reports quoting the families of the slain trio says that two among them had left their homes in Pulwama just on Tuesday morning for Srinagar to take admission in a tuition centre. How is it possible that they became militants till evening when the encounter started at Hokersar,” he said, adding, “There are unverified reports that they were killed in a fake encounter. If true, this is shocking and must be probed by a sitting High Court judge. The circumstances in which the killings happened need to be thoroughly probed.”
Earlier in the day, families of three persons claimed to be militants killed in an encounter with a joint team of police, CRPF and Army at Hokersar in city outskirts of Srinagar staged a protest, asserting that they were innocents.
“Yesterday at 10 am, he had tea with me and I swear about it. I don’t know where he was brought down from Sumo. Is this what is going to happen in Kashmir. Is this democracy? Is this the governor Raj? Kill me. Why you killed him. He was a student,” said Bashir Ahmad Ganie, grandfather of Aijaz Maqbool, one of the slain.
“Why was he killed? Was he a terrorist?” he asked, adding, “(Aijaz) is the son of a policeman Mohammad Maqbool Ganie who is posted in Ganderbal,” the elderly man told reporters outside PCR in Srinagar. “Tell us why our son was killed. If they don’t, let them send task force and kill us all at home,” the elderly man said.
Besides, Aijaz Mushtaq from Putrigam Pulwama, families of two others—Ather Mushtaq Wani (class 11th student as per family) son of Mushtaq Ahmad Wani from Bellow Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone (carpenter) from Turkewagan Shopain—also protested and claimed they are innocents.
The police had said, that “three unidentified militants have been killed while search operation is on. The house where militants were hiding suffered partial damage.”
The operation began after a joint team of Police, army’s 02 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Hokarsar.
The General officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force H S Sahi said that three militants killed in an encounter at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts were planning a big strike on the highway to gain publicity.
Addressing a joint press conference at 2 RR headquarters at Zainakote, HMT, Srinagar, GoC Kilo Force said that in the past one week, five militants including a Pakistani national were killed in two separate gunfights in north Kashmir.
“Since past many days, intelligence inputs were pouring in continuously about the movement of militants on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Yesterday, we developed leads and came to know that militants are hiding in a house right opposite to Noora hospital at Lawaypora in HMT area,” Sahi said.
“The militants fired indiscriminately at security forces and lobbed grenades as well. The operation was put on a halt due to dark but cordon layers were tightened. With the first light, the firefight again resumed and militant used heavy ammunition against security forces,” the GoC said, adding that in the ensuing gunfight three militants were killed.