Family contests Army claim on Kunzer youth’s arrest

Srinagar: The family of an imam(prayer leader) in Kunzer area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has contested the Army’s claim that he was arrested during an anti-militancy operation .
The Army had on Wednesday claimed that based on an intelligence input Bilal Ahmad Bhat, a “Hizbul Mujahideen militant,” from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district was arrested “during a raid… and one AK- 47 rifle, one magazine and 20 rounds ammunition recovered from his possession.”
However, Bilal’s father, Sanaullah Bhat rebutted army claim and said his son was summoned by police on March 30, 2014.
“On 30 March, we got a call from Kunzar police station and they asked for Bilal. I gave the phone to Bilal and they asked him to come to police station Kunzar ,” Bhat said.
He said next day at 9:00 am, Bilal went to Police Station Kunzar where he was told that he had been summoned by Special Operation Group (SOG) Pattan. “He came back home and later went to SOG camp at Pattan,” Bhat said.
“ My son called me and said that might have to spend a night at the camp as he had been told to wait for the ‘Sahab’ . I told him to come back, but he said it was alright since they just wanted to talk to him,” Bhat said.
The next day, Bhat said, the family went to see Bilal at the camp. “They kept him at camp for four more days .”
“When we asked a SOG officer why Bilal was not being released he and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Pattan promised to release him the next day,” Bhat said.
Bhat said when some locals of Kinzar, where Bilal led prayers at a local mosque, went to the concerned Police station which had earlier summoned Bilal and asked the reason for his detention they too were assured that he would be released.
Bhat said that , in order to get his son released, he also met Minister of Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir who again promised that Bilal would be released soon.
“However, Bilal was shifted to SOG Kreeri and tortured. We were shocked when we came to know that Army had dubbed him as a militant and claimed that he has been arrested during a raid on Wednesday.”
Denying family allegations, an army spokesman based in Srinagar told GNS that police had detained the Bilal in last month and released. “But, he was ordered to report before police every week. However, on a specific input of SOG, we arrested him along with an AK-47 rifle.” The army maintained that Bilal is a militant.