Kashmir Indepth

Hyderpora encounter: On 2nd day, families of slain civilians stage protest, demand return of their bodies

Faizan Ahmad

Srinagar Nov 17 (KINS): For the second consecutive day, families of two civilians killed in an encounter at Hyderpora continued their protest on Wednesday seeking return of their bodies.

According to the police, a Pakistani militant and his local associate Mohammad Amir, along with two civilians — Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul — were killed in the encounter, where an illegal call centre and a militant hideout were allegedly being run. However, the families of local slain persons have rejected all these charges and said they were innocent and seeking their dead bodies.

The encounter has come under question with political parties, civil society groups and families of these slain people demanding an independent probe to unveil facts and seeking their dead bodies so they can perform their last rites and give a decent burial.

Police have buried all the four dead bodies including a Pakistani militant in North Kashmir’s Handwara district.

Humaira Gul, wife of Dr Mudassir Gul, a dentist, who was killed in the encounter, said her husband was innocent.

On Wednesday, she along with her family members and relatives held a protest at Srinagar’s press colony.

For the last two days, Gul’s wife Humaira Gul has been carrying her daughter along with family members and protesting in Srinagar’s press colony seeking her husband’s body.

“Give us justice. My daughter is asking for her father ‘Baba’. Give justice to my three children. He was not a terrorist. If he was a terrorist, then show us evidence. We want his body so my children and I will get the last glimpse of his face,” Humaira, Gul’s wife said, while crying. “If they show us any evidence that he was a militant, kill me and my children,” she told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), while beating her face and chest. He had been father of three minor children.

She said on Monday morning, her husband left home. In the evening his phone was switched off and the family got to know later that he had been killed.

According to the police, Mohammad Altaf Bhat was killed in the cross-firing and it was not clear whether he was hit by the bullets fired by the militants or the security forces.

The police claimed that Bhat had rented out the first floor of the building to Dr Mudassir Gul, and he used the space for carrying out militant activities. However, the family has rejected the allegations and is seeking his body and an independent probe.

Bhat, a father of three minor children, had been dealing in construction material over the last two decades. Among his children, the youngest is his seven years old son.

His children have been in utter shock since the incident. They cry the whole day and want to see the face of their father.   “Why they killed my father? An eye witness who is a Doctor was also killed. When I asked security forces why they killed my father, they started laughing at me. I have a brother who is seven years old and is also asking about father. What will we tell him. They (Security forces) have shattered all our dreams,” one of Bhat’s daughters said. They too held a protest at Srinagar’s press colony on Wednesday.

They family claim that he was used as a shield by the security forces.

Similarly, another local killed in 24-yer-old Aamir Magray from Ramban of Jammu region, which police claimed was a militant. The family however says he was working at a shop with Dr Gul in Kashmir. His father Abdul Latief Magray had killed a militant in 2005 with a stone. “I have killed a militant with a stone. My cousin was also killed by militants. But today I got the reward that my innocent son has been killed by security forces and branded a terrorist,” he said, while seeking his son’s body. (KINS)

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