The Special Investigation Team of Jammu and Kashmir Police, probing the Hyderpora encounter, on Tuesday said that the building owner Mohammad Altaf Bhat had volunteered to go inside the building and wasn’t used as a human shield.
Asked why the civilians were sent in for house searches if the forces had information about the presence of militants inside, the SIT, DIG Sujith K said Bhat had volunteered to go inside as “he was very sure that there was no one hiding inside”.
“At no point of time did any of them tell the forces about the presence of the militants inside or seek any help, ” he added. The SIT chief said the investigation was still going on and the team was open to reviewing its findings if any evidence, suggesting so, comes to light.
On Amir’s involvement, Singh said the recoveries made in the building like codeine bottles and winter apparel pointed to the existence of a hideout.
“We have found out that Amir was frequently visiting Bandipora. Why would someone visit Bandipora so frequently when he (his family) had fled that place in 2008?” he asked. Singh referred to statements of some protected witnesses in the case which lead to the conclusion that the building was used as a hideout by the terrorists.
“We found a dongle from the body of the foreign militant. The location of the device was at Jamalatta on 14th November where a firing incident took place,” he said. Asked if the police disclosure about the investigations could preempt the magisterial probe ordered by the administration, Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said the inquiry was already complete.
“That probe has been completed and the report has been submitted to the government four days ago. The government has directed the District Magistrate to place the report before the judicial magistrate concerned,” he added.
The families of Bhat, Gul, and Magray had claimed that they were innocent and held protests, demanding their bodies be returned. Several political parties in the state also extended support to the demand and the administration handed over the bodies of Bhat and Gul on November 18.