Anantnag: The family of Naseer Ahmad Bhat, killed in Bulbul Nowgam in an encounter late Monday evening along with two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, has said that he was not a militant and had no militant connections whatsoever.
Police have described Naseer as a Lashkar militant who was killed along with his comrades when the militants opened fire after their vehicle was intercepted by a team of army and police SOG (special operations group).
Bhat’s family said on Tuesday that he owned the vehicle the slain men were travelling in, but he had no connections whatsoever with militants.
“We are not able to comprehend what happened last night in Sheikh Pora,” Arif Bhat, Naseer’s elder brother, told media persons in Hakura-Badazgam village of Dialgam area in Anantnag.
The family is a native of Hakura-Badazgam village but has been living in Pehru area along the Khannabal-Pahalgam (KP) Road near main town Anantnag for several years.
They own a shop in Pehru where Naseer worked with his brother and father.
“Our grandfather had died and we have been here for a few days. Naseer (we called him Rayees) was here too and left last night for Pehru,” Arif said.
He said that the only explanation that comes to his mind is that militants may have asked for a lift from Naseer, while he was on his way to Pehru.
“If he had any connection with militants the police would have known and they would have come looking for him, one day or the other. But he was never sought by police in any militancy-related case,” Arif said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, South Kashmir Range, SP Pani said facts will be ascertained soon.
“He had recently been released from jail after serving three-and-a-half years for a murder he was accused of, under FIR number 107-2011. Nevertheless, we are looking into the matter and facts will be established soon,” Pani said.
Pani said that Naseer’s family will be questioned to establish the sequence of events.