Hyderpora – Jammu & Kashmir: Cops call slain businessman ‘harbourer of terrorists’, family wants body backNovember 16, 2021
Shortly after the police claimed to have killed militants in Srinagar’s Hyderpora locality, the families of the two slain civilians have questioned the police version, asserting that both of them were killed in cold blood.
Four persons were killed in a shootout, according to police, Monday night in the high security Hyderpora quarter of the city. They included Muhammad Altaf Bhat, the house owner and his tenant Mudasir Gul a dentist turned businessman.
Noha Bhat, the daughter of 48 year old Muhammad Altaf Bhat, who owned the property where the killings took place, raised questions over the police version of the incident. “There is no proof of militants being there (in the building),” she said. “There was no firing from the other side.”
Inspector General of Police Kashmir Vijay Kumar however tweeted soon after the shootout saying: “The house owner who was injured in the terrorist fire, succumbed to his injuries. Terrorists have been hiding on the top floor of his building. As per source and digital evidence, he has been working as terror associate.”
Altaf’s daughter, however, accused the police of killing her father. “Only they [police] opened fire and killed common people,” she said, further alleging that Altaf was used as a human shield. “My father was first taken upstairs and then let go, this was repeated a second time, on the third time he was fired upon.”
The youngest of Altaf Bhat’s three children, she said, a class third student, still had no inkling that his father had been killed. “I appeal to them [the police] to at least give his dead body back,” she said. “He was not a militant. He was killed only because he was a Muslim. What regime rules here,” daughter said in a video clip now viral on social media
She further alleged that the police fled after murdering her father, to which a tenant in the building was an eyewitness. The tenant, later identified as Mudasir Gul, who she claimed “was a witness to the incident, was also shot dead.”
Mudasir was a dental surgeon by qualification and businessman by profession. As per the Gul family, Mudasir was in the process of setting up a call centre in Altaf Bhat’s property and was residing there with his business partner and their office helper from Banihal, Aamir.
Muzamil Gul, brother of the deceased, quoting an eyewitness, said the Police Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel arrived at the building in three Tavera vehicles and directed them to evacuate.
“The eyewitness had not recognised the presence of a fourth individual,” Gul quoted him saying.
Later, the three men were again directed to accompany the SOG personnel back inside the building, Gul quoted eyewitness as saying. “As soon as they had stepped inside the building, the police fired upon them,” alleged Muzamil.
“My brother was no militant associate and neither was he harbouring anyone,” he said. “My brother was killed in cold blood by the police.”
Amid questions surrounding the alleged gunfight, the Jammu and Kashmir Police called for a hurried press conference today (Tuesday), where the IGP Vijay Kumar, flanked by Srinagar police chief, Sandeep Chaudhary, reasserted their version of the killings.
Kumar, while acknowledging Altaf and Mudasir as civilians, said the two were injured when militants opened fire using pistols. The police, he said, fired back ” in self defence” leading to the encounter.
Kumar said: “It is not sure whether militant bullets or the bullets fired by forces hit him [Altaf Bhat]. Militants were carrying pistols and it would be clear after investigations whose bullet hit him.”
Kumar added that a Special Investigation Team led by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) will further head a probe into how the alleged encounter went down.
Kumar earlier alleged that Mudasir had provided shelter to a foreign militant Haider and his associate—office helper Aamir—and “was also involved in ferrying Haider from the recent attack site of Jamalatta (Nawakadal) Srinagar where a police man was injured.”
Kumar also said that police have recovered two pistols, magazines, besides six mobile phones and an unspecified number of computers from the site of the alleged gunfight.
Meanwhile there is mourning in the households of Ataf and Mudasir in Barzulla and Baghat Kanipora.
Both families said they visited the police station several times demanding that the bodies be returned to them for proper burial but they were denied.
Citing law and order apprehensions, Kumar however said all the four were buried by authorities in north Kashmir’s Handwara. Handwara lies 80 kilometers from Srinagar in North Kashmir.
Soon after the shootout the police had blocked traffic on the stretch from the bypass’ western end in Parimpora on Srinagar’s outskirts.