Srinagar: The J&K Police have labeled the three civilians killed during the Shopain gunfight of March 31 this year as “miscreants and stone pelters” whose objective was to “provide an opportunity to holed-up militants to escape the spot”.
However, the police report states that one person, namely Mushtaq Ahmed Thoker, was a civilian and got killed in cross firing at Draggad encounter site the next day.
The four civilians killed in the encounter were identified as Zubair Ahmed Bhat, Mehraj-ud-din Mir, Mohammad Iqbal Bhat and Mushtaq Ahmed Thoker. Eleven militants and three forces’ men were killed in gunfights at Draggad and Kahcdor.
In its report to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Anantnag, states that on March 31, police, army and CRPF personnel cordoned village Kachdoora after reliable inputs about the presence of militants was received. During search operation, the militants fired indiscriminately upon the search party. The security forces also retaliated in defence, and the gunfight continued.
“In the meantime, a large number of miscreants came from adjacent areas and heavily pelted stones upon the search party with an aim and objective to provide opportunity to holed militants to escape. Consequent upon the information, an FIR no.91/2018 was registered at PS Shopian,” the report states.
During the gunfight, three army men got injured and succumbed to their injuries. Moreover between the clashes and the gunfight, three miscreants, namely Zubair Ahmed Bhat, Mehraj-ud-din Mir and Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, who were pelting stones reportedly sustained injuries and also succumbed later on. The bodies of the miscreants were buried by the locals on their own, due to which no legal formality could be undertaken by the police as heavy clashes were going on in Shopian town.
The report further states that five militants, identified as Ishfaq Ahmed Thoker, Aitmad Ahmed Malik, Samir Ahmed Lone, Aqib Iqbal Malik and Gaya-ul-Islam, were also flushed out.
With respect to the Draggad encounter, the police states that on April 1 an information was received from reliable sources about the presence of some militants in village Draggad. A joint operation led by police and CRPF cordoned the area. During the search operation, the militants fired indiscriminately, which was retaliated. In the meantime, a large number of miscreants from adjoining areas, equipped with deadly weapons and petrol bombs, attacked the search party with an aim and objective to provide opportunity to holed militants to escape from the spot. But security forces eliminated all the seven militants, identified as Yawar Ahmed Yatoo, Nazim Nazir, Adil Ahmed Thoker, Ubaid Ahmed Malla, Zubair Ahmed Turray, Rayees Ahmed Thoker and Ishfaq Ahmed Malik.
Also, one civilian, namely Mushtaq Ahmed Thoker, whose house was adjacent to the encounter site, was killed in cross firing. After completing medico-legal formalities the bodies were handed over to their legal heirs for the last rites. The investigation in the case is still going on.
The petition before the SHRC, filed by human rights activist Ahsan Untoo, had pleaded that civilian killings were the outcome of irresponsible action by the security forces.
He had submitted that target killings of civilians at the hands of security forces should be stopped and culprits be brought to justice.