Families of two young men and a teenaged boy, who were killed by security forces in Srinagar on December 30, protested in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on Tuesday. This comes a day after Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar claimed that they will soon convince the families that the trio was involved in militancy with concrete evidence.
Families of the teenager, and Ajaz Maqbool (22) from Pulwama, and Zubair Ahmad (24) from Turkawangam Shopian protested in Bellow Pulwama, also demanding that the bodies be handed over to them.
The teenaged boy’s father insisted that the trio was innocent and rejected police chief Kumar’s claim that there was “60%” proof that the deceased were involved in militancy.
“Twenty-two days have gone by and they are saying 60% documents are ready. This is a ‘fake’ (claim) and is being done for the public (image). Today this happened with us, tomorrow this fire will engulf the whole of Kashmir,” he said.
On Monday, Kumar had said, “According to the meta data we have collected so far, all the three associates who were killed in the encounter were involved in militancy. They were providing logistic support (to militants). We want to take a few more days so that we collect all the evidence which we will show to their parents first to convince them of their children’s involvement.”
Police and army have said that the trio was killed in an exchange of fire at Hokersar-Lawaypora in Srinagar after they refused to surrender, but their families insisted they were civilians. The boy was a class 11 student, Aijaz was pursuing graduation while Zubair was a skilled worker, according to their families.
The boy’s father said, “The killers have to be brought to book…I will not hesitate to go to the Supreme Court even…I will wait for a week or I will end my life at Lal Chowk. This case should be investigated before that.”
Claiming that the police report showed the trio had no FIR against them, he said, “Today they are saying that they were over ground workers of militants, tomorrow they will claim that they were terrorists.”
The families demanded that the bodies be returned to them for burial at their respective places. Since Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities have been burying the bodies of militants, allowing only a few family members to be part of the burial. Bodies of the trio killed on December 30 were taken to Ganderbal, some 110 km from Pulwama, for burial.
The claims of the families questioning the deaths in Lawaypora come just three weeks after the Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a charge sheet against an army captain and two others for killing three young men of Rajouri in a staged encounter in Shopian on July 18 allegedly for “prize money”.