IGP Kumar says Bhat was killed in ‘cross-firing’, declares Mudasir as OGW
Srinagar: After the police claimed to have killed two militants and a houseowner (civilian) in Srinagar’s Hyderpora, one more person had received bullet injuries and succumbed, raising the total death toll in the ‘encounter’ to four.
The slain was identified as Dr Mudasir Gul, a dental surgeon.
One of the slain was Mohammad Altaf Bhat, a resident of Old Barzulla locality. Bhat owned a hardware store and a cement dealership near the scene of the encounter. Both the families have said the slain were used as human shield and had no links with militancy.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police said businessman Mohammad Altaf Bhat was killed in the “cross-firing” between militants and security forces at Hyderpora Monday, but he would be counted as a “harbourer of militants” as he did not inform authorities about the tenants in his building.
“Altaf was killed in the cross-firing with the militants. Let the post-mortem report come and we will come to know who fired the bullet that killed him,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar told reporters here.
Even though he expressed regret over Altaf Bhat’s killing, Kumar said the deceased would be counted among the “harbourers” of militants.
“He had kept tenants and police had no information about it. The responsibility of the owner does not end with renting out the place… He should also check once in a while as to what is happening there,” the IGP said.
He said Mudasir Gul, the person who had rented the premises, was an active associate of militants.
“Mudasir had brought the militants from Jamalatta, where one of our cops suffered injuries in the neck during an encounter with militants, in his own car and dropped them at Hyderpora,” he said.
The IGP said Gul was operating an illegal call centre from the rented premises.
“We have recovered computers, mobile phones, maps of the USA and other material. A special investigation team has been formed to investigate further,” he said, adding the findings will be made public in due course.
Kumar said security forces tried their best to evacuate Bhat and Gul but could not save them “as the situation was bad”.
Kumar last night had said the house-owner was working as a militant associate.
However, the family claimed that Bhat had no links to militancy.
“You killed my innocent uncle Mohammad Altaf Bhat in cold blooded murder In Hyderpora, you used him as human shield and now saying he was OGW (over ground worker), return us his body @JmuKmrPolice @SrinagarPolice @IGP,” tweeted Saima Bhat, niece of the deceased.
Altaf Bhat’s teenage daughter pleaded with authorities to return her father’s body.
Gul’s family also claimed innocence and urged the authorities to hand over his body to them for final rites.
Kumar said the bodies of the four slain men were buried in the early hours today in Handwara area of Kupwara district to avoid any law and order problems in the city.
The IGP said the identity of the two militants was being verified.
With inputs from PTI