SRINAGAR: In a report submitted to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the police have said that of the six persons killed in Shopian’s Pahnoo village in a shootout in March this year, two were Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, two Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of militants, and “nothing adverse was found against the other two.”
A detailed reply filed by the SSP Shopian in response to notices issued by the SHRC, in case SHRC-SGR/2018, stated that on March 4, 2018, at around 8:15pm, Major Praveen Menon of 44 RR lodged a written report in police station Shopian to the effect that on the same day at evening, army men of his unit were busy in establishing a Mobile Vehicle Check Point (MVCP) near Pahnoo School and in the meantime a red Santro and a sliver Swift car approached the MVCP and tried to jump over the MVCP.
The SSP’s reply stated that soldiers challenged the occupants of both the cars but they did not stop and instead opened fire from inside the cars upon the troops at the MVCP, with the intention to kill them. In the exchange of fire, one militant and three OGWs were killed and one weapon was recovered.
The police reply further stated that during the course of investigation, bodies of four persons indentified as Amir Ahmed Malik of Hermain, a militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Muhamamd Shahid Khan of Malikgund, Shopian, and Shulak Wagay of Pinjoor and Shahnawaz Ahmed Wagay of Trenz were recovered from the site of incident. The bodies were later handed over for last rites to their respective family members.
“On the next day two more bodies identified as of Gowhar Ahmed Lone and Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Ashiq Hussain alias Abu Lukmaan of Rakhpora, Kapran, who were injured in the same incident were also recovered from nearby Pahnoo and Saidpora villages by people and were buried by them on their own,” the SSP’s reply said.
“During the investigations it came to fore that the Swift car used by the militants was hijacked by them and they were travelling in the same vehicle when intercepted by the MVCP at Pahnoo. During the investigations, it was found that two were LeT militants, two were OGWs, and nothing adverse was found against other two,” the SSP’s reply stated.
The petitioner who had approached the SHRC for inquiry into the Pahnoo killings expressed utter dissatisfaction with the police’s reply. He said, “Those who were travelling in the vehicle have been made scapegoats and labelled as OGWs. It is high time that this incident be probed impartially.”