SIT report on Hyderpora encounter nothing but a cover-up, say political parties, kin of those slain

The encounter took place on November 14 in a shopping complex in Srinagar’s Hyderpora neighbourhood. The families of the slain persons insisted that they were innocent and were killed in cold blood

Photo courtesy: Twiter
Photo courtesy: Twiter

Gulzar Bhat

Mera qatil he mera munsif hai/Kya mere haq mai faisla dega

(When my murderer is himself my judge, how could he rule in my favour)

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Mohit Bhan tweeted this couplet immediately after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Jammu and Kashmir Police gave a clean chit to security forces in the controversial Hyderpora encounter that took place on November 15 which left three persons and a foreign militant dead.

" ...Unfortunately, Kashmiris continue to be cannon fodder for those sitting in North and South block," Bhan remarked when reached for a comment.

On Tuesday, J&K Police DIG Sujith Kumar Singh, who was heading the SIT, told reporters at a press conference that Dr Mudasir Gul was killed by the foreign militant.

"Prima facie evidence suggests that Dr Gul and the foreign militant had a bust-up and after receiving directions from his handlers from across the border, the militant shot him dead," said Singh, who was flanked by J&K Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh and IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar.

He said that dog mounted cameras were used to scan the entire building.

"9 mm bullet cases were found near the body of Dr Gul, which was lying in an attic and it was an area where the police had neither gone nor fired towards," Singh said while sharing the findings of the SIT.

He contended that the militant then used Altaf Bhat, the building owner, as a human shield and he was killed in the crossfire.

Singh said that Amir Magray, the third person killed in the encounter, was a militant and was seen with the foreign militant before the encounter. He said that both Magray and the militant used to stay in the building where the firefight took place.

He said that investigation was still going on. "Some FSL reports from Chandigarh are still awaited," he said.

The encounter took place on November 14 in a shopping complex in Srinagar’s Hyderpora neighbourhood. The families of the slain persons insisted that they were innocent and were killed in cold blood.

They said that the dead had been buried stealthily in North Kashmir, miles away from their homes, demanding custody of their bodies for a proper burial.

After the families staged overnight protests in Srinagar's Press Colony, the authorities exhumed the bodies of Dr Gul and Bhat and handed them over to their families.

The J&K LG administration also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident while the police constituted an SIT to probe the encounter.

When reached for comments, Abdul Majeed Bhat, elder brother of Altaf Bhat, said that it was inexplicable why over a thousand well-trained security personnel could not save Bhat if he was taken as a human shield by a single militant.

"And why were there torture marks on his body?" asked Bhat.

He said that the SIT had itself admitted that its probe was incomplete and that the team was still investigating. "We don't understand what spurred the team to come up with an incomplete report," he said.

Bhan said that the police had first passed off Bhat and Dr Gul as ‘Over Ground Workers (OGW) and now they have made Magray a scapegoat.

"There have been inconsistencies in the police version since day one," he said.

He demanded a judicial probe chaired by a former Supreme Court Judge.

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of six political parties, termed the SIT's report as "concocted" and "cover-up".

M.Y Tarigami, spokesperson of PAGD, said in a statement that the police press briefing was only a repetition of the old story.

"There is a strong public perception that the civilians killed were made human shields by the security forces and the statement of the police seems to be a concocted cover-up story," said Tarigami.

He demanded a time-bound judicial probe into the incident.

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Published: 29 Dec 2021, 6:57 PM