With a Chinese pistol being a major recovery from a militant killed in Budgam after a day-long encounter with the Army and Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday, political parties here are raising questions over the way the operation was conducted by the forces in which a militant and three civilian protesters were killed.
“Yesterday's encounter is a clear example of CM's words being ignored - 9 hrs long & result is a C grade militant with a Chinese pistol”, the leader of opposition and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, tweeted.
A senior police official said that he a pistol, magazine and some rounds were recovered from the killed militant.
Omar’s statement has come in response to recent utterances of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, that she has given directions to the security forces not to kill young militants during gunfights and instead “try to bring them into the mainstream fold.”
Three youths, Zahid Rashid Ganai, 24; Amir Fayaz Waza, 18; Ishaq Ahmed Wani, 24, were killed and 35 others were wounded on Tuesday after government forces opened fired on protesters near a gunfight site at Chadoora in Budgam, around 20 kms, from city centre Lal Chowk, Srinagar.
A militant, Touseef Ahmed Wagay of south Kashmir’s Kulgam area, who was hiding in a house, was also killed during an encounter.
Demanding judicial probe into the killing of three civilians, National Conference, General Secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar termed the killings as “a blot on Indian democracy.”
“The PDP has let loose unabated reign of terror and repression against innocent Kashmiris and in their pursuit of remaining in good books of their masters in Delhi, the present coalition government is trampling human rights violations day in and day out”, Sagar said addressing his party workers at the party headquarters here on Wednesday.
He said that independent probe, preferably by a sitting or retired High Court Judge, will unravel the amount of excessive force used against the civilians that resulted in the worst type of blood bath. The NC leader accused the PDP and BJP of giving long rope to the forces as a result of which they have taken overall control of the administration and the government has just become puppet in their hands.
Sagar said the PDP has failed in protecting the life and honour of Kashmiris and reminded that its leadership is repeating what they had engineered in early 1990s. “They have been perpetrators of terror and agony in Kashmir”, he said. Sagar said that all this is being done under an agenda scripted in Nagpur to erase the Muslim character of Kashmir.
Independent MLA Engineer Rashid, who was stopped by the Police to carry a protest march to the Chief Minister’s residence, said, New Delhi has given a free hand to security forces to kill Kashmiris and treating every Kashmiri as its enemy.
“Sense of accountability is now a distant dream within security forces and civil administration has become a rubber stamp for security forces”, the law maker said.
“The claims of Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police being disciplined forces have become like a joke and both police and the army have lost moral battle to those whom they call outlaws and terrorists”.
Eyewitnesses said that the government forces opened fire on civilian protesters indiscriminately.
A 10th class student, who identified himself as Adil, and has sustained a bullet injury in his chest, said, he was part of protest like everyone else in the area. “But we were standing far away from the encounter site and chanting slogans. The forces rained bullets on us. They aimed bullets directly at us instead of firing in air”, he said.
Another youth, who works as mechanic and has received four bullets in his left arm, said he was working in an under construction house at Wathoora, 2 km from the Chadoora, when the police and paramilitary CRPF chased protesting youth. “Forces fired bullets at youth and some hit me in my arm. I was taken by another mechanic to the hospital”, he said.