Kashmir's largest indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and the valley-based separatists on Sunday smelt a rat in the mysterious blast on a police van that left a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir youth and a cop dead.
"A handcuffed detainee is moved to a court under a tight security with around a dozen police personnel accompanying him. How can a grenade exist in the police van and explode?" asked hardline Hurriyat spokesman of Syed Ali Shah Geelani faction.
A 35-year-old undertrial and former militant, Waheed Noor Khan was killed along with a cop on Saturday when a grenade inside a police vehicle blew off near Hygam in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. Five other cops were also injured.
The incident took place when Khan was ferried to the Srinagar Central Jail from a court in Sopore town after a hearing.
The Hurriyat claimed the killing seems deliberate. "Unseen and invisible forces who perform these types of operations can risk many other lives. Another detainee Shakeel Ahmad alias Obaidullah was also killed in a similar incident and till date truth hasn't come out," alleged the spokesman.
The Hurriyat has demanded an impartial and independent investigation into the "murder" case of Khan.
"A government probe can't be trusted as no results have come out till date from the government announced investigations," alleged the spokesman.
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, while describing Khan's death as "custodial killing," threatened to avenge the act.
"He was martyred in the custody like Shakeel alias Ubaidullah (the body guard of United Jehad Council chief) in July 2013. Those policemen who today martyred Hamza to please their masters and enacted drama will have to answer one day," said United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman and Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Salahuddin in a statement issued to a Srinagar-based news service from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Salahuddin said the incident has made "Mufti-Modi policy clear now."
"Thousands of Wahid Noor will be born. Those involved in fake encounters won't be spared and they will have to answer for their shameful acts," said Salahuddin.
A number of other separatist groups, which include Peoples League and Salvation Movement, have demanded probe into the incident.
Deputy inspector general, north Kashmir, Gareeb Das has already initiated inquiry into how the grenade reached into the van. The police maintain the blast was triggered by Khan himself.
The police are also looking into the angle where a ploy could have been hatched to make Khan escape.
Who is Waheed Noor Khan
The 35-year-old Khan is a resident of Rawalakot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He was arrested in September 2010 from Srinagar's Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital.
Accused to be a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen, Khan was booked under Section 13 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Act. He also faced charges under 14 Foreigners Act and 2/3 Egress & Ingress Movement Control Ordinance. Besides, he was facing charges under Section 302.