J&K Police detain Srinagar protesters, demanding bodies, in midnight action

The family members accuse the security forces of staging the encounter at Hyderpora

November 18, 2021 05:58 am | Updated 10:04 pm IST - Srinagar

Families members of Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Dr Mudasir Gul, who were killed during the Hyderpora encounter on November 15, 2021, protest demanding a probe and return of the dead bodies, in Srinagar, on November 17, 2021.

Families members of Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Dr Mudasir Gul, who were killed during the Hyderpora encounter on November 15, 2021, protest demanding a probe and return of the dead bodies, in Srinagar, on November 17, 2021.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police detained and shifted the protesting family members of two "civilians", who were killed in the Hyderpora " encounter " on Monday evening in Srinagar, around midnight at the city's Press Enclave on Wednesday.

The family members of Altaf Bhat, the owner of the building where the encounter took place, and Dr. Mudasir Gul, who had rented a place in the building, were holding a sit-in since 10 a.m. to demand the return of the bodies.

The family members alleged that electricity was cut off ahead of the police action against the protesters. In a video, the protesters, who were sitting in freezing temperature under candles at the Press Enclave, were seen being dragged and pushed into police vehicles. "Kill me too," one of the relatives of Bhat is seen saying to the police. A scuffle also broke out between the protesters and the policemen.

Saima Bhat, a scribe whose uncle is among the victims, said, "I have worked in Press Enclave for last 11 years and never has electricity been snapped for such a long time. We are demanding the least."

She said the family members had met the top civil and police officer in Srinagar on Tuesday. "They had expressed solidarity with us and assured the bodies will be given back. But they are yet to approach us. We saw no official visiting us at the protest site during the day," she said.

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, who claimed that the police denied her permission to visit the protest site during the day, said, "Instead of handing over mortal remains of the innocent civilians, police have arrested the family members for demanding the bodies of their loved ones. Unbelievably ruthless and insensitive. Least they can do is return the mortal remains immediately".

National Conference leaders Salman Sagar and Imran Dar visited the protest site in the evening, demanded "immediate handing over of the bodies to the families".

The police have buried the bodies around 70 km away from Srinagar in Handwara "to maintain law and order". The family members, however, accused the security forces of staging the encounter at Hyderpora and denied the duo had any links with the militants. One "foreign militant" and a Ramban resident, whom the police accuse of being a militant associate, were also killed during the encounter.

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