Mehbooba Writes To LG, Seeks Probe

  Mehbooba Mufti - KO File Photo

Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti sought on Friday an impartial investigation into the killing of three youths in an alleged fake encounter here two days ago and demanded that the bodies be returned to their families.

In a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Mufti said such incidents brought "disrepute" to the armed forces and are "a grave violation" of human rights.

"I am sure you are aware of the unfortunate incident at Parimpora on 30th December. Three boys, the youngest being all of 17 years old, were killed in what the family has alleged to be a staged gunfight," she said.

"Questions are also looming over this encounter & there are conflicting versions & reports from police & the army. Justice can be served only if it is swift & therefore I request you to initiate an impartial investigation into the matter immediately," the former chief minister said.

Police had claimed on Wednesday to have killed three militants in an overnight encounter in Parimpora area of Srinagar, but families of the slain youths said they had no connection with militancy and that two of them were students.

Mufti said the incident comes close on the heels of police filing a charge sheet against an Army officer and two others in connection with the killing of three men from Rajouri district in an alleged fake encounter at Amshipora in Shopian last July.

The PDP leader said she and the lieutenant governor might not be on the same page on most political matters, "but I am certain we agree that such incidents bring disrepute to the armed forces and are a grave violation of human rights".

Mufti said while she was aware that the administration was apprehensive about returning the bodies of the three youths killed in Srinagar to their families, "this callous decision will only exacerbate their sense of loss and pain".

"One hopes that you will rethink this decision and allow them to get closure. A mother who grieves the sudden & tragic death of her beloved son shouldn't be deprived of the last chance to see his face. Nor does she deserve to have to beg for his dead body. This is simply inhuman & unacceptable," she said in the letter.

Mufti urged Sinha to intervene and ensure that the families get a chance to perform the last rites as per their wishes.

Meanwhile, Anantnag MP Hasnain Masoodi spoke to Sinha on Thursday evening over the issue, the National Conference said, adding that the Lt governor has assured an impartial inquiry into the incident.

Earlier raising questions over the Srinagar encounter, senior Vice President Awami National Conference, Muzaffar Shah Friday asked why SOP was not followed by joint forces and why the family members of the slain youth were not called at the encounter site.

Shah said that forces are bound to follow SOP's under which family members of trapped militants are called near the encounter site to persuade their loved ones to give up arms. “In Srinagar no such SOP was followed", he said.

"Families of youth have already termed this encounter as ‘staged and fake’. We have seen earlier how three innocent labourers from Rajouri were killed in a Amshipora Shopian fake encounter,” Shah said.

He sought time bound inquiry into the circumstances leading to the killing of these three youth saying the justice must be immediately delivered by investigating the matter on an impartial, fast track basis.

“It is for the government now to clear the ambiguity leading to the death of the three persons,” he said.

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