Outrage Prompts Probe Into Hyderpora Encounter

Families of two slain Srinagar men protest demanding justice and return of their dead bodies | KO file photo by Abid Bhat

Govt Will Take Suitable Action As Soon As A Report Is Submitted: LG

Srinagar: Authorities had to relent following a massive public outrage and exhume the bodies of Muhammad Altaf Bhat and Dr Mudasir Gul, two Srinagar businessmen who were killed along with two others in a controversial police operation in Hyderpora locality here on Monday evening and buried in a hush hush manner 100 kilometres away in North Kashmir the same night.

The bodies were exhumed hours after Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a magesterial probe into the police operation.

The families of the victims have been insisting that their men were innocent civilians, while the police had claimed that both were "terror associates".

An additional district magistrate will investigate the controversial police operation, J&K Lt Governor's office tweeted Thursday morning after some dramatic visuals of midnight police action against protesting family members at Srinagar’s Press Enclave went viral on Social Media.

"We will look into the demands of the families. We are open to corrections if anything has gone wrong. A police probe will also find out what went wrong," Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh was quoted as saying by a news channel.

The Lieutenant Governor's office tweeted that it "will ensure there is no injustice."

"A magisterial inquiry by officer of ADM rank has been ordered in Hyderpora encounter. The government will take suitable action as soon as a report is submitted in a time-bound manner. J&K administration reiterates commitment to protecting lives of innocent civilians and it will ensure there is no injustice," the Lt Governor's office tweeted.

Earlier police said four people, including a foreign militant and his associate from Ramban district, were killed in the gunfight on Monday night. IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar initally said, Muhammad Altaf Bhat, the owner of the building where the gunfight took place and one Dr Mudasir Gul, whom he called a militant associate were killed "in cross fire" a claim contested by their families.

The families have been on a sit-in since the killings and held a candle light protest on Wednesday night at Press Enclave here demanding return of the bodies of their kin. Dozens of armed and masked police personnel later descended on the protest site Wednesday night and forcibly evicted the protesting families. Some of them were even briefly detained after they resisted the eviction.

This further aggravated the atmosphere with protests breaking out at many places across Kashmir. Politicians cutting across party lines joined the protests and demanded bodies be handed over to the families.

ADM To Probe Case, Submit Report In 15 Days

Meanwhile the district administration on Thursday appointed Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Srinagar, Khurshid Ahmad Shah as inquiry officer into the controversial Hyderpora encounter and asked him to submit a report within 15 days.

According to an order issued by the District Magistrate, Srinagar in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 176 of CrPc, Additional District Magistrate, Khurshid Ahmad Shah has been nominated as inquiry officer for conducting the probe into the matter. He has been asked to submit his report within a period of 15 days.

“Whereas, it has been felt expedient to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the matter so as to ascertain the facts and circumstances related to the incident and the cause of death,” the order reads.

Shortly after being nominated as the probe officer, the ADM Srinagar issued a notice asking witnesses to record their statements.

“It is hereby informed to the general public/ person in knowledge of the incident and is willing to record his/ her statement or wants to give any other information about the incident, is being asked that he/ she may attend the office of the Additional District Magistrate, Srinagar in the office complex of Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Amar Niwas Complex, Tankipora, Srinagar for recording the statements in this matter within 10 days from the date of issuance of this notice from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM during working days, so that the enquiry in the said case is completed,” reads the notice.

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