SRINAGAR — Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday demanded that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha order an “impartial investigation” into the killing of three persons in what security forces said was an encounter at Lawapora on Srinagar’s outskirts.
The Peoples Democratic Party President also demanded his intervention to ensure that the bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families for burial.
“I am sure you are aware of the unfortunate incident at Parimpora on December 30. Three boys, the youngest one all of 17 years, were killed in what the families have alleged to be a staged gunfight. This incident has come close on the heels of an inquiry that held an Army Captain guilty of a fake encounter at Amshipora in Shopian. Again, the three victims now established as innocent through an investigation were killed and later dubbed as militants,” her letter reads.
“You and I may not agree on most political matters that concern Jammu and Kashmir but I am certain that we agree that such incidents bring disrepute to the armed forces and are a grave violation of human rights.”
“I urge you to intervene and ensure that these families get a chance to perform their last rites as per their wishes. Questions are looming over this encounter as well and there are conflicting versions and reports from the police and the Army. Justice can be served only if it’s swift. Therefore, I request you to initiate an impartial investigation into the matter immediately,” she said in her letter.
The PDP chief said that she was aware that the UT administration was apprehensive about returning the bodies of the youths to the families “but this callous decision will only exacerbate their sense of loss and pain”.
She said: “One hopes that you will rethink this decision and allow them to get a closure.”
The letter pointed out that a mother who was grieving over the sudden and tragic death of her son shouldn’t be deprived of the last chance to see his face. “Nor does she deserve to have to beg for his dead body. This is simply inhuman and unacceptable.”
Aijaz Maqbool Ganai, Ather Mushtaq, and Zubair were killed in an ‘encounter’ with the security forces on December 30. The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday maintained that the three persons killed at Lawapora had militant connections and denied claims to the contrary.
On the other hand, the bereaved families staged a protest in Srinagar and claimed that they were innocent and had no militant connections. The family of one of the killed persons said that he had gone to a university to fill a form. — IANS