Four persons, including two businessmen, were killed during an anti-terror operation by security forces in Srinagar. The police said that two terrorists were killed in the operation and the killed businessmen were “terrorist supporters”.
The killed businessmen – Dr Mudasir Gul and Altaf Bhat – had shops in the commercial complex at Hyderpora where the encounter took place on Monday evening.
Mudsir Gul, a dental surgeon by training, ran a computer centre in the complex. Altaf Bhat was the owner of the commercial complex and also ran a hardware and cement shop there.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded an inquiry into the killings.
“Using innocent civilians as human shields, getting them killed in cross firing & then conveniently labelling them as OGWs is part of GOIs rulebook now. Imperative that a credible judicial enquiry is done to bring out the truth & put an end to this rampant culture of impunity,” tweeted Ms Mufti.
The families allege that the businessmen were killed by security forces but the police insist that both of them were either killed in terrorist firing or killed during the crossfire.
The families have been demanding their bodies for the last rites. The police, however, said that the bodies cannot he handed over to families because of the law and order situation. Police said all the four bodies were buried in Handwara area of north Kashmir, 100 km from Srinagar.
“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”. return us his body” tweeted Saima Bhat.
Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, said the computer center by Mudasir was an unauthorised call centre ,which had six computers.
“We approached families of Mudasir and Altaf to participate in burial. Since we have apprehensions of law and order problem we cannot handover bodies to families. We took bodies to Handwara where burial took place” said Mr Kumar.
Police said two pistols have been recovered from encounter site and the call centre being run in the commercial complex was used for terrorist activities.
Initially police said both the businessmen were injured and eventually killed in terrorist firing but later said that they may have been caught in the cross-firing.
“I’m saying Altaf was killed in cross-firing. I’m not saying if he was killed by militants or we have fired at him. During the encounter whose bullet hit him is matter of investigation. If he was hit by pistol bullet then terrorists have killed, if hit by AK rifle, then we can say he was hit by our bullet,” said Mr Kumar.
Locals say soon after security forces launched an operation to track down suspected terrorists and a volley of gun fire ensued. What followed was a nightmare for locals and those stranded in sub zero temperature.
Families of Altaf and Mudasir said they visited the police station several times demanding that the bodies be returned to them but they were denied.
“At 10 pm last night we heard Dr Mudasir was killed. Please do justice and give us his body. He was a dental surgeon and running his business in the complex in Hyderpora,” said a relative.
“It’s a lie that he was an OGW (overground worker of terrorists)” the family said.
Srinagar has been witnessing frequent terrorist related incidents for last few months. On Sunday evening, one policeman was injured in terrorist firing in downtown area of Srinagar. The police said terrorists fired during a raid by the security forces.
There have been several incidents of targeted attacks by terrorists on migrant workers and members of minority community since last month.
Last week, a terrorist was killed at Bemina neighbourhood. Police said he was part of a terrorist group planning to carry out a suicide attack in the city.