On 30 December, the family of two of the three youths killed in an encounter by security forces staged a protest in Srinagar on Monday demanding their bodies to be buried in Ganderbal and a fair investigation into the encounter.
While the army and police have insisted that they were militants, the families of the youth claimed that they were innocent.
Police also released alleged videos of the panicked house where Zubair Ahmed of Trikutang Shopian, Ajaz Maqbool of Putarigam Pulwama and Athar Mushtaq (16-17 years) were killed in Hokers-Lavepora Srinagar, claiming that He was repeatedly asked to surrender. The night of 29 December and the morning of 30 December.
Members of the family of Athar Mushtaq and Zubair Ahmed arrived in Srinagar’s press colony carrying banners that read, “Stop the killings of innocent people” and “We want a full investigation”. Among the protesters, protesters including elders and women were shouting slogans demanding justice. The protest lasted for about an hour with a few dozen people taking part.
“He had bullets in his chest. The mothers and sisters of the soldiers congratulated them and said that you have shot the terrorists. But he was only 16 years old, ”said Mushtaq Ahmed, Athar’s father.
“Are the soldiers snatching my heart piece now?” You killed my son to feed your children. Shame on you, “he said.
While the police and army have said that the three were killed in exchange for fire at Hokesar-Lavapora, Srinagar, their families have denied the claim and said they were civilians. Athar was a student of class 11, Aijaz was pursuing graduation, while Zubair was a skilled worker, according to their families.
Mushtaq said that he wants justice. “I don’t want money. I just want my son’s body, ”he said.
“He is buried there (in Ganderbal). Whom should I tell? Are the people of India not listening? I want to tell the people of the world that I want justice. I want my son, he is only 16 years old. I’m already dead. Either give me my son or bury me right there, ”he said.
As part of the protocol, authorities have buried the bodies of terrorists away from their homes, with only a small number of family members allowed to be part of the burial arranged by the police. On December 30, the trio killed were taken to Ganderbal, about 110 km from Pulwama.
The police have rejected the claims of the families but have promised to investigate the case from all possible angles.
On Monday, police released two videos of the besieged house, asking those in force to surrender. Kashmir Police said in a tweet, “After besieging in Hoksar on the evening of 29/12/20, soldiers are repeatedly assuring the trapped militants to come out and surrender.”
Another tweet along with a video stated, “On 30-30 / 2020 in the morning, the hackers appealed to the soldiers to once again rescue the trapped militants from the field and surrender to them.”
Almost all mainstream political parties in Kashmir have questioned the encounter after claims from families.
National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Monday asked Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to facilitate the handing over of the bodies. “LG has promised a fair and swift investigation into this encounter when Hansen Masudi, a member of the JKNC Lok Sabha, recently spoke to them about it. In the interim we hope that LG will order the bodies to be handed over, ”he said in a tweet.
He said, ‘It is very important that this encounter should be investigated at the earliest. Only a fair and transparent investigation, which was already promised by @manojsinha, will satisfy the families who have lost their loved ones who they insist were innocent, ”he said.
However, the police have said that their checks showed that Ejaz and Athar were grassroots activists.
“A background check has also revealed that Aijaz and Ather Mushtaq, both OGWs (ground activists of terrorists) provided logistics to the terrorists in various ways. The police and the statements also show that both had a general inclination and were militants of the Lashkar (now so-called TRF) organization, ”the police said in a statement.
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