Jammu and Kashmir: Families of civilians killed in Hyderpora now root for justice
After a week of the killings of Altaf Ahmad Bhat, 48, and Mudasir Gul, 43, during an anti-militancy operation in Hyderpora, the two families are now coming to terms with the loss they suffered
The families of two civilians, who were killed in Hyderpora operation, are now rooting for justice from J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha after they were successful in getting the bodies of their kin exhumed and perform their funerals.
After a week of the killings of Altaf Ahmad Bhat, 48, and Mudasir Gul, 43, during an anti-militancy operation, the two families are now coming to terms with the loss they suffered, particularly after they were forced to come out on roads to demand the bodies of their loved ones.
The extended families and relatives of both Bhat and Gul still gather and mourn at their homes in Barzulla in Srinagar and Kanipora in Budgam.
“I trust the lieutenant governor’s words. He has announced that an inquiry will be conducted and justice will be served. Somebody should not think that they can get away with a brutal killing and nobody will question them,” said Bhat’s elder brother Abdul Majeed, a contractor by profession.
“I am thankful to the lieutenant governor and now I am waiting for capital punishment to the killers of my brother,” he added.
The J&K administration has ordered a magisterial probe after questions were raised over the Hyderpora operation carried out by security forces in which four persons, including three J&K residents and a suspected Pakistani, were killed on November 15.
The police had claimed that Bhat and Gul were civilians who helped militants and were killed in cross firing, while the other two were Pakistani terrorist Bilal Bhai alias Hyder and a ‘hybrid’ militant, Amir Magray.
Bhat was the owner of the shopping complex where the encounter took place while Gul, a doctor and a real estate businessman, had rented rooms there. Magray used to work as an office boy with Gul at the complex.
“If the police had inputs and they were so sure, how did they use them as human shields? Why were they put in harm’s way deliberately? ,” asked Bhat’s niece Saima Bhat, a journalist. Bhat is survived by his homemaker wife, two daughters aged 15 and 12, and an 8-year-old son.
“My elder cousin is scared how will she face her friends and teachers when they would ask about her father. Would I be able to concentrate in studies, she asks me,” Saima said, adding that there were many things where the police story did not add up.
“Even Kashmir IGP said that he regretted my uncle’s killing. Still they did not give us his body immediately and tormented us for 70-80 hours,” she said.
‘No militant was born in our family ever’
The family of Mudasir Gul said that no militant was born in their family or extended family ever.
“There is no history of militancy in our family or even extended family. Also, we have never voted for any political party till now. We don’t trust anybody,” said Gul’s father Ghulam Mohammad Rather, a retired government employee.
He wanted a judicial probe into the killings.
“We are thankful to Lieutenant Governor Sinha that he took the initiative and handed over the bodies of innocent civilians. This incident (Hyderpora encounter) should be probed and culprits be punished,” he added.
“They were civilians. The police should withdraw their allegations. We want a judicial inquiry, not a magisterial probe. A court-monitored probe can be fair,” he further said.
Gul has two children from his wife Raffia — a 10-year-old girl and a son aged five.
He also has a one-year-old daughter from his second wife Humaira.
Gul’s brother-in-law Showkat Ahmad said they wanted that justice should be delivered, not denied.
“His wife is in shock. She is taking anti depressants,” he said.
“Gul was such a gentleman. He used to behave as a child with a child and mature with a mature person,” Showkat recalled.
Return body of third civilian killed in Hyderpora without any delay: CPI (M)
JAMMU Urging the authorities to return the body of Amir Ahmad Magray of Gool in Ramban, the third person killed in Hyderpora last week without any delay, Sham Prasad Kesar, Jammu regional secretary, CPI (M), on Monday demanded a judicial probe into the killing of three civilians.
“As it has been proven beyond any doubt that Magray was a civilian, it is huge injustice to his family that they are not even allowed to perform his last rites. When the body of two other civilians killed in Hyderpora were returned, why is the government reluctant to return Magray’s body to his family?” he questioned.
“The government must ensure that those involved in the killing of unarmed civilians are brought to book and punished under the law. The probe ordered by the government by an additional district magistrate-rank officer in Hyderpora killings is not enough as it is difficult for a middle-rung officer to prove something which is contrary to the government claims,” he claimed.
We demand a judicial and time-bound probe into the gruesome incident which has shaken the whole Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding that the least the government could do to restore the confidence of people in institutions is to punish the culprits of this heinous crime in a transparent manner.
(With inputs from Jammu)