The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday claimed that a top commander of The Resistance Front was among three suspected militants slain in a brief shutdown even as the locals from the area where the firing took place said that the tri was shot dead in cold blood.
According to police, the slain have been identified as 20-year-old TRF commander Mehran Yaseen Shalla, a resident of Nawa Kadal in Old City Srinagar, and Pulwama residents Manzoor Ahmad and Arafat Ahmad Sheikh. Mehran and Arafat were members of the TRF, while Manzoor was a Hizbul Mujahideen operative.
Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that Mehran was killed in the encounter. “Three militants, including the top TRF commander, have been killed in an operation. He had been on our radar for a long time,” he said.
But locals in Rambagh, where the shooting took place, said there were hundreds of witnesses and the trio was shot dead by the police in cold blood.
In a viral video, eyewitnesses claim that the three were “unarmed and were shot dead by the armed forces in front of us”. Witnesses alleged that the trio was dragged down from a vehicle and shot dead.
Soon after the incident took place, locals gathered near the spot and claimed the killed men were “innocent”. The crowd shouted pro-freedom slogans and protests were reported from the spot.
The killings also sparked a protest in Srinagar’s downtown area, with residents reporting heavy stone-pelting in Nawa Kadal over allegations that the encounter was fake.
The encounter comes days after another controversial operation in Srinagar, where four people — including a suspected Pakistani terrorist — were killed in Hyderpora. Police have alleged militant association for two of the other men killed in that encounter as well, but their families have refuted the allegations. The fourth man killed was a businessman — police say he died in the crossfire, but his family claims he was used as a human shield.