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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Fight for their sons’ bodies: south Kashmir families brave snow, protest in Srinagar

Braving heavy snowfall, which threw life out of gear in Indian-administered Kashmir, the families of two youth who were slain in disputed Srinagar ‘encounter’ on December 30 staged a protest in the summer capital as the India-run administration continued to remain silent on their demand to hand over the bodies of their sons. 

The three youth who were slain in an disputed firefight in Parimpura were buried at an undisclosed location by the Indian government forces to avoid mass participation in their funerals. 

The families of Athar Mushtaq Wani from Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian districts gathered at the Srinagar’s Press Enclave and demanded justice.

Father of Athar, amid tears and sobs demanded that the authorities should hand over the body of his son, who was among the three youth killed in the gunfight.

Athar’s sister said that her slain brother left home at 01:00 PM, but he didn’t inform the family where he was going. “We called him in the evening, but his number was switched off. On the other morning, we got a call from a police officer who sought a photograph of my brother and informed us that he was killed in a gunfight,” she said.

She added that they demand justice as her brother was innocent.

Zubair’s family too pleaded that their son was innocent, saying that they fail to understand how their beloved turned a militant just within two to three hours.

Brother of Zubair, who is a policeman said that “we demand the authorities to enquire about the incident so that such kind of incidents will not be repeated in the future. We have seen a similar incident in Amshipora, where authorities claimed that arms and ammunition was recovered from the possession of the slain.”

“Zubair was not in Srinagar on that day. We came to know that his location at around 02:30 was traced at Lassipora, a few kilometers away from our home. We approached the SHO concerned who told us to approach SSP in this regard,” he said.

Muhammad Shafi Lone, Zubair’s another brother said that “our beloved, who was innocent was killed and the statements coming to the fore are quite shocking. Zubair left home at 02:00 PM and was not in Srinagar. There are contrary statements coming to the fore. We want the facts to be made public so that justice will be delivered.”

“In case the statements are proven right, we will be at the forefront to say sorry to the authorities,” he said, adding that during the encounter, the families should have been called to the gunfight site for the surrender, which has not taken place.

Pertinently, authorities said that three militants were killed in the gunfight at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts while the families contested the claims and pleaded that their beloved are innocent. 

Even the BJP has called for probe into the disputed encounter.

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