Srinagar: After the Jammu and Kashmir police claimed to have killed two militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, family of one of the deceased has said that he was not involved with militancy and had been home till the morning that day.
“Shakir had to appear before the court in a case regarding geology and mining department, and was told by his lawyer to reach before 11 am,” his elder brother, Rafiq told Free Press Kashmir.
As per the family, after having tea, the 23 year old left home early morning for work. He came back within a couple of hours, took a shower and left for Pulwama Court on his motorcycle.
“The neighbours came and informed us that Shakir’s motorcycle is parked just a few metres away from the house, with the key in ignition,” Rafiq said.
Knowing that his brother would never get so careless, Rafiq sensed something was wrong and called on Shakir’s number multiple times, but in vain.
His repeated calls went unanswered, and minutes later, he received a call asking about the whereabouts of his brother.
“Shakir was a tractor driver and had left for the court on Wednesday morning to appear before the magistrate in a geology and mining case,” Rafiq informed the SOG personnel over phone.
“I got a call from a Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel who enquired about Shakir,” Rafiq said.
“He asked me to send him a picture and phone number of my brother, and I did,” he said.
But Rafiq was not informed of his brother’s killing by the SOG.
In a military operation, on 20th October, the police had claimed to have killed two militants in Shopian’s Dragad area, and they identified one of them as Shakir Ahmed Wani of Litter, Pulwama.
The family claims that Shakir worked as a tractor driver and was not associated with any militant organisation.
“He was innocent,” said Rafiq who learnt about his brother’s killing from a neighbour who read it in the news.
“I was informed by my neighbours that there is some news circulating on whatsapp about my brother’s killing,” Rafiq said.
Police claim that the slain was involved in the killing of a non-local carpenter Sageer Ahmed in Pulwama’s Litter on October 16.
As per the police, after receiving a specific input regarding the presence of militants in Dragad area of Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, 44RR and 178 Bn CRPF in the area.
“During the search operation, as the presence of militants got ascertained, they were given repeated opportunities to surrender, instead they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which retaliated leading to an encounter,” the statement reads.
The statement reads that in the military operation, two militants were killed.
“They have been identified as Adil Hussain Wani son of Ghulam Hussain Wani resident of Shirmal, District Commander Shopian of proscribed terror outfit LeT (TRF) and Shakir Ahmad Wani son of Ghulam Qadir Wani resident of Litter Pulwama,” it said.
The statement reads that both the killed militants were involved in several “terror crime cases including civilian atrocities.”
Rafiq however says he was with Shakir when the event took place.
“We were working in the fields the day non-local labourer was killed and came home by evening, I was with him harvesting paddy,” Rafiq said.
The family says that Shakir was home all along and if he was involved in militant activities, the police would have been looking for him.
“Shakir would leave for work at 5:30 in the morning and return home by noon. He would then play cricket with his friends. That was his normal routine,” he said.