Shutdown in Kashmir over killing of 3 ‘militants’

Mehbooba’s demands that families of those killed ‘be allowed the burial as per their wishes’

Updated - January 01, 2021 08:37 pm IST

Published - January 01, 2021 01:26 pm IST - Srinagar:

Army jawans stand guard outside the house where militants were hiding during an encounter at Lawaypora on the outskirts of the Srinagar, Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

Army jawans stand guard outside the house where militants were hiding during an encounter at Lawaypora on the outskirts of the Srinagar, Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

Parts of the Kashmir Valley observed a shutdown on Friday over the killing of three “militants” on December 30 and former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti wrote a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha and demanded that the families of those killed “be allowed the burial as per their wishes”.

Shops and private offices remained closed in the commercial hubs of Srinagar’s Lal Chowk and Nowhatta and south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian. The shutdown comes days after the families of the three slain youth claimed “they were students and not militants”.

Ms. Mufti’s letter said, “I urge you to intervene and ensure that these families get a chance to perform the last rites as per their wishes. Questions are also looming over this encounter and there are conflicting versions and reports from police and the Army. Justice can be served only if it is swift and I request you to initiate an impartial investigation into the matter.”

She also called for a rethink of the ‘strategy’ of the government to not return bodies.

‘Inhuman and unacceptable’

“This callous decision will only exacerbate their sense of loss and pain. One hopes you rethink the decision and allow them to get closure. A mother who grieves the sudden and tragic death of her beloved son shouldn’t be deprived of the last chance to see his face. Nor does she deserve to have to beg for his body. This is simply inhuman and unacceptable,” she said.

National Conference (NC) Member of Parliament Hasnain Masoodi also raised the issue with the LG.

“MP Masoodi spoke to the J&K L-G on Thursday and expressed his anguish over the reports surrounding Wednesday’s encounter. L-G Sinha assured an impartial enquiry into the matter,” party leader Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Family claims could not be verified: police

A police spokesman said the claims of the parents of slain Aijaz Maqbool Ganai that he had gone to a varsity to fill up a form “could not be verified”.

“Contrary to the claims, the verified digital evidence revealed and corroborated that Aijaz and Ather, another militant, had gone to Srinagar's Hyderpora and from there to the place of encounter,” the police said.

The police said the third youth, Zubair, had gone first to Pulwama, then to Anantnag and then to Shopian before heading to the encounter site.

“Background checks revealed that Aijaz and Ather were over- ground workers and provided logistic support to terrorists. Antecedents and verifications too showed that both were radically inclined and aided terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, now so-called The Resistance Front outfit,” the police said.

The police were “investigating into the case from all possible angles”, the spokesman added.

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