Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Kashmir: Lieutenant Governor orders magisterial probe into civilian killings

Relatives of Altaf breaks down while narrating the incident. Photo: Ishfaq Reshi

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the Hyderpora killings.

“A magisterial inquiry by officer of ADM rank has been ordered in Hyderpora encounter. Govt will take suitable action as soon as report is submitted in a time-bound manner. J-K admin reiterates commitment of protecting lives of innocent civilians and it will ensure there is no injustice,” the LG’s office said in a Twitter post.

A day after armed forces claimed to have killed two suspected rebels and their “associates” in a gun battle in Kashmir Valley’s Hyderpora locality, the families of at least three deceased men -Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Dr Mudassir Gul as well as Aamir Magray- alleged it was a “cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians” and are demanding their bodies be returned to them.

On Wednesday night, Jammu and Kashmir Police detained the families holding a demonstration at Srinagar’s Press Enclave seeking the return of bodies of their kin. Police have stopped the traffic movement towards the protest site and electricity has been snapped as night-long protests were going on by the families.

https://twitter.com/MaktoobMedia/status/1461060916150091777?t=EHX2Wcuh-I-_xqN-fwoUgQ&s=19

All four bodies were buried in Handwara, more than 70 kilometres from Srinagar.

“My father was innocent. He was not a militant. He was a civilian…He was afraid of security forces. Wherever there used to be any untoward incident outside, he would stay indoors and ask chachu [uncle] to check what is happening outside,” Naifa, 13-year-old daughter of businessman 48-year-old Altaf Ahmad Bhat, one of the civilians killed by India’s armed forces told Maktoob.

“I want to ask the army, how did my father become a militant within hours? Where did he get weapons and join militancy? Where did he get himself trained in hours?” she told Maktoob at her home.

While the gunfight has left a trial of questions behind, the eyewitness accused police of putting their lives at risk by using Altaf Ahmad Bhat and 40-year-old Mudasir Gul, a dental surgeon, as “human shields.”

All political parties in the valley had sought an impartial probe into the killings.

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