DIG contests army version, says killing was accidental
Tral: Strongly contesting army claims about death of a ‘militant’ in an encounter at Hurdu in Tral area of Pulwama district Monday evening, thousands of people assembled in the main town and registered protest. The agitated people believe the deceased was a civilian and not a militant.
The people chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and demanded stern action against the soldiers involved in the killing. Slogans against the army and the police were also chanted.
DIG Anantnag–Pulwama range, Nitesh Kumar differed with the army saying the killing was accidental. He said that army cordoned off Kamla forests of Tral this afternoon following the inputs about the presence of militants in the area. “During the search operation the army came in contact with the militants triggering heavy exchange of fire. In the firing one suspected militant was killed while others managed to flee,” DIG said.
He said that the deceased was later identified Khalid Ahmad, the brother of the most wanted militant commander of the area, Burhan. He said that army also arrested at least four persons in the forests and later handed over them over to police. “During questioning of the arrested people it came to fore that they had gone to meet the militants in the forest area,” DIG said.
He said that the army also recovered two AK-47 rifles from the encounter spot.
DIG said that it was not a deliberate killing but accidental. “Since he had gone to meet his militant brother and was caught in the exchange of fire. Now whatever you would like to call him you can, civilian or over ground worker (OWG),” he said.
The concerned police station, however, refused to accept the body of the slain youth saying it would create law and order problems.
The army, however, maintained that the deceased was a militant who got killed in an encounter. The army also claimed recovery of two Ak-47 rifles and ammunition from the site of the ‘encounter’.
The protesters identified the slain youth as Khalid Muzaffar Wani, the brother of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Burhan, son of a Higher Secondary School Principal is wanted by police and the army. Tral has been a hot bed of militancy for the past one decade.