While the J&K Police and Indian Army claimed the trio were militants, their families claimed them to be innocent.
Family members of the youth killed during a gunfight with security forces in Lawaypora area of Srinagar on December 30, held a protest demonstration in Bellow village of Pulwama today.
Holding banners and photographs of the slain, the protestors demanded dead bodies of the slain. “We want justice. Return the dead body of Wani Ather,” one of the banners read.
One of the elderly protestors, while talking to the media, said, “I request the J&K Government, especially Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha to return the dead bodies of the three slain youth, so that we can bury them as per religious rituals.”
“It is an irony that accused is first killed and then evidence is searched. Secondly, we can’t be denied the dead bodies because of so-called COVID-19 protocol,” Mushtaq Ahmad, father of slain Ather Mushtaq, told the media, while responding to the comments of Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), Vijay Kumar.
He added, “Recently, one of our relative, who was a cop, was killed in Natipora. I participated in his funeral where 10 thousand people participated. When his dead body was returned (amid the COVID-19), why then are we denied the bodies of the slain?”
“I request the IG (IGP Kashmir) to handover the bodies. I will give a written consent to bury the dead in the dark of the night, without causing any problems,” he further said.
Another elderly relative of slain said, “Aijaz was bedridden at home for 35 days. He had left to visit Srinagar after the long period and I am perplexed with the claim of ammunition recovered from them. If he was a militant, he should have been arrested from home. He was innocent. Now, we demand the dead bodies only.”
It is pertinent to mention that three youth namely Athar Mushtaq from Bellow village of Pulwama, Aijaz Ahmad from Putrigam village of Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian were killed in an gunfight at Lawaypora in the outskirts of Srinagar on December 30 last year.
While the J&K Police and Indian Army claimed the trio were militants, their families claimed them to be innocent and alleged their kin were killed in a staged gunfight.
Yesterday, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Range, Vijay Kumar reiterated that the three slain youth were militants and police was going to convince their parents soon by coming up with “concrete evidence.”
He also told the media that the bodies of slain militants aren’t being handed over to families in view of the COVID-19 pandemic as large number of people would assemble in funerals and break the COVID protocol.
This story is part of a exclusive series and It is NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.