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India’s new rulebook in Kashmir; use civilians as human shield, kill them and call them militant associates: Mehbooba

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday demanded a judicial probe into the Hyderpora encounter, expressing concern over the killing of a house owner and a doctor.

“It pains to see that you (police) have started targeting civilians while fighting militants,” she said, demanding a probe.

Four persons, including a Pakistani militant and his accomplice, were killed in a gunfight in Hyderpora locality of Srinagar late Monday evening.

The dead also included the house owner and a doctor, whom police dubbed as overground workers. Their family members, however, have denied the police charge.

“Using innocent civilians as human shields, getting them killed in cross-firing & then conveniently labelling them as OGWs (Over Ground Workers) is part of GOIs (Government of India’s) rulebook now,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter, responding to a video of a teenaged daughter of one of the deceased, Altaf Bhat, shared by a user.

“Imperative that a credible judicial inquiry is done to bring out the truth & put an end to this rampant culture of impunity,” she added.

Addressing a group of youths earlier at her party office, Mehbooba said, “I came across a news about an encounter in Hyderpora. Militants getting killed is understandable but there are allegations by the family that the house owner was used as a human shield and was killed along with a young doctor.” “I do not know which category they (house owner and the doctor) will be put into but the heartaches. It pains to see that you have started targeting civilians while fighting militants. That is wrong,” she added.

Mehbooba, who is on a five-day tour of Jammu, accused the BJP of polarising the country with an eye on the next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“Earlier, governments used to seek votes on their achievements like how many bridges have been built, employment avenues generated and jobs given to the youth,” she said.

“But they (BJP) have nothing to show to the people except making Hindus and Muslims fight each other to garner votes,” she said.

Asking youths of Jammu to remain cautious, the former chief minister said attempts are being made to poison the society here as well.

“The youth is faced with the biggest problem of unemployment and they (government) have no answer to that. They have no answer to the issue of farmers who are on the roads for the past year.

“They have only one machine and only one factor and that is to polarise the society for political gains in the run-up to the UP elections,” she said, also referring to the alleged communal tension in Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra in the recent past.

The PDP leader said she grew up in Jammu in the house of local resident Krishan Dev Sethi and never felt any difference between a Hindu and a Muslim.

“This is the brotherhood of Jammu which is one of the places in the country where secularism is alive and Hindu, Muslims, and Sikhs are living like brothers but they want to poison the society here as well,” she alleged.

“You should not fall in their trap. You have to take an account from them and ask how many locals have got jobs in power projects and factories set up here. After abrogation of Article 370, how many locals and non-locals got jobs in Jammu and Kashmir?” Mehbooba asked.

She claimed that wine dealers lost their trade to outsiders, while local shopkeepers and those dealing with minor minerals are also facing the heat and losing their businesses to outsiders.

Referring to the move for 75 and 80 percent job reservations in the private sector in Haryana and Punjab by local governments, Mehbooba asked why such a reservation, enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir prior to the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, was revoked.

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