December 9, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Controversy erupts as kin of 2 civilians slain in Kashmir encounter deny deceased were OGWs

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Controversy erupts as kin of 2 civilians slain in Kashmir encounter deny deceased were OGWs
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Controversy erupts as kin of 2 civilians slain in Kashmir encounter deny deceased were OGWs
Controversy erupts as kin of 2 civilians slain in Kashmir encounter deny deceased were OGWs

SRINAGAR: A controversy broke out over the killing of two civilians who were among the four people slain in an encounter with security forces at Hyderpora, Srinagar, that ended Tuesday evening. The two slain civilian’s families said their kin were not overground workers (OGWs) for terrorists, as claimed by the police, and the niece of one of them alleged her uncle had been used as a “human shield”. The families’ claims led to PDP, NC and People’s Conference calling for an impartial investigation.
IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said on Tuesday one foreign terrorist named Haidar, his local terrorist associate Aamir Ahmad, an OGW named Mudasir Gul, and Altaf Ahmad Bhat, the owner of the building in which the terrorists had been hiding, had been killed in Hyderpora. He said Altaf Bhat would be counted as a “harbourer” of terrorists, PTI reported.
According to Kumar, Bhat was killed in the crossfire, and Gul, a non-practising dentist running a call centre and property business in the same building, was in fact harbouring Haidar, a Pakistani terrorist from The Resistance Front (TRF), a Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit.
“It is not clear whether bullets fired by the militants or by the forces hit the civilian (Altaf Bhat). The terrorists were carrying pistols, investigations will make clear whose bullet hit him,” the Kashmir police chief said.
However, Bhat’s teenage niece disputed the claims made by the authorities and alleged that he was used as a “human shield” by the security forces. “You killed my innocent uncle Mohammad Altaf Bhat in cold-blooded murder In Hyderpora, you used him as human shield and now saying he was ‘OGW’ (overground worker), return us his body @JmuKmrPolice @SrinagarPolice @IGP,” tweeted Saima Bhat.
The IGP said Aamir Ahmad, a resident of Banihal, was also a terrorist working under Haidar’s command whose cover was a job as an office boy at Mudasir’s call centre, an unregistered business. “He (Bhat) had kept the tenants and the police had no information about it. The responsibility of the owner does not end with renting out the place… He should also check once in a while as to what is happening there,” the IGP was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Mudasir was running an unauthorised call centre. This way, he was an OGW and was directly involved in harbouring militants,” IGP Kumar claimed.
The IGP told reporters at Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar that on Monday evening the police had received a lead about the presence of terrorists on a side road off the airport road. “Police, CRPF and the Army laid a cordon and, when they zeroed in on the spot, the terrorists fired indiscriminately at the forces,” Kumar said, adding that the two terrorists were killed in the gunfight that followed.
“Mudasir was also involved in ferrying Haidar from the recent attack site in Jamalata Srinagar, where a policeman was injured,” the IGP said, adding that he was also involved in ferrying terrorists from areas in south and north Kashmir.
Two pistols, two magazines, six mobile phones and a few computers were recovered from the encounter site, the police said.
He said the bodies of Altaf Ahmed and Mudasair were not handed over to their families for the last rites as there were apprehensions of a law and order problem.
Asked whether the police had clear evidence that Mudasir harboured terrorists, the IGP said they had digital evidence and would get further proof.
Meanwhile, the families of Altaf Ahmed and Mudasir Gul urged lieutenant-governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday to help them get the bodies of their kin so that they could be given a proper burial back home.
The daughter of Altaf Ahmad, the building owner, urged L-G Manoj Sinha 0n social media to “direct the police to return my father’s body so that we can see him one last time and give him a proper burial”.
The family of Mudasir Gul, a resident of Rawalpora, staged a protest at Srinagar’s Press Enclave and demanded the return of his body. “He has two little kids and we want to show them the face of their father one last time,” his family said. Mudasir’s mother, weeping, claimed that her son was innocent. Other family members and relatives of Mudasir rejected outright the police claim that the slain man was an OGW, stating that “Mudasir had no militant links and was innocent”.
The authorities, meanwhile, constituted an SIT headed by a DIG to investigate the “high-tech” Hyderpora “call-centre” hideout from where mobile phones and computers were recovered.
“They will also get into the details of whether the militants were in touch with any foreign country. The team will also look into the sequence of events that led to the killing of the building owner and militant associate,” IGP Vijay Kumar said.
PDP chief Mehbooba alleged on Twitter that the use of “innocent civilians” as human shields, “getting them killed in cross firing & then conveniently labelling them as OGWs is part of GOI’s rulebook now (sic).” She added that a “credible judicial inquiry” was imperative to establish the truth and “put an end to this rampant culture of impunity”.
People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone also demanded a probe. “…the least we deserve is a transparent description of what happened by a neutral institution. This is neither the first time nor the last time. Manoj Sinha — you have the opportunity to assert that human lives matter,” Lone said.
National Conference’s Omar Abdullah tweeted: “There have been numerous instances of fake encounters in the past and the questions raised about this #hyderporaencounter need to be answered swiftly and in a credible manner.” He added that an “impartial and credible inquiry” was necessary as “there are far too many questions being raised about the encounter and about the people killed”.
Lok Sabha members Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi also called for an impartial and time-bound probe, PTI reported.
(With agency inputs)

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