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Lawaypora encounter: Families of slain protest, demand bodies, probe

Families of the slain in the Lawaypora encounter, amid tears and sobs, demanded that the authorities should handover the body of their sons.

Srinagar, J&K —

The families of two youth, who were among the three killed in Lawaypora encounter on December 30, staged a protest in Srinagar on Monday and demanded the bodies of their kin so that they could have their last glimpse and bury them.

The families of two youth that include Athar Mushtaq Wani from Bellow Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian district of southern Kashmir gathered at Srinagar’s Press Enclave and held a protest demonstration.

Father of Athar, amid tears and sobs, demanded that the authorities should handover the body of his slain son.

The slain’s sister said that her brother left home at 01:00 PM, but he didn’t inform the family where he was going.

“We called him in the evening, but his number was switched off. On the other morning, we got a call from a police officer who sought a photograph of my brother and informed us that he was killed in a gunfight,” she said, adding, “We demand justice as my brother was innocent.”

Moreover, the family of Zubair also gathered at Press Enclave here and pleaded that their son was innocent, saying that they fail to understand how their beloved turned a militant within just two to three hours.

Brother of Zubair, who is a cop, said, “We demand enquiry into the incident so that such kind of incidents will not be repeated in the future. We have seen a similar incident in Amshipora, where authorities claimed that arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the slain.”

“Zubair was not in Srinagar on that day. We came to know that his location at around 02:30 was traced at Lassipora, a few kilometers away from our home. We approached the SHO concerned who told us to approach SSP in this regard,” he said.

Muhammad Shafi Lone, Zubair’s another brother said, “Our beloved was innocent. The statements coming to the fore are quite shocking. Zubair left home at 02:00 PM and was not in Srinagar. We want the facts to be made public so that justice will be delivered.”

“In case the statements are proven right, we will be at the forefront to say sorry to the authorities,” he said, adding that during the encounter, the families should have been called to the gunfight site for the surrender appeal, which has not taken place.

Pertinently, authorities said that three militants were killed in the gunfight at Lawaypora encounter on Srinagar outskirts while the families contested the claims and pleaded that their beloved were innocent.

A local Sikh activist Angadh Singh Khalsa who was also part of the protest told reporters that soldier are not angels but humans and humans are fallible. “How can you act as court, judge and lawyer and pass a verdict against the claims of families. We demand that case should be investigated and past of these young slain youth should be investigated as well. One among them was just 17 who was a student and never had any links with armed activity. How can you dub them as over ground workers?” he questioned.

Also Watch: Hokersar Encounter: He was innocent, preparing for exams, says family of ‘militant’ killed in Srinagar

He said these families have not arrived in Srinagar to create any disturbance but they are seeking justice. “If police is claiming they were OGWs, then give us proof. Police is saying relatives of these young boys had links with militants in past but I am telling you that in Kashmir, everyone’s relatives had links with armed activity in the past. This is a lame excuse. The case should be investigated impartially and probe should be orders,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, J&K Police on Monday released two brief videos in which Army personnel can be heard offering surrender to “trapped militants” inside a house at Hokersar Lawaypora here on December 29.

“On 29/12/20 evening after the cordon at #Hokersar, troops are repeatedly #appealing the trapped #(militants) to come out and #surrender with assurances that they will not be harmed,” police said in the tweet.

In the 27-second video, a drone can be seen outside hovering around the house while an Army man makes the offer of surrender: “You are given a chance to surrender. Leave weapons and come out. We assure you that you will not be harmed. Hands up and come out.”

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The story is part of an exclusive story and IS NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.

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Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories that need to be told. With a special focus on data journalism, the journo also writes about happenings, events and everything that matters.

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