Hours after Jammu and Kashmir Police said three terrorists were shot dead on the outskirts of Srinagar, the families of the killed “terrorists” alleged that “innocent” young people including the son of a police officer have been killed in a staged encounter, and passed off as terrorists. One of the dead was a Class 11 student, the family claimed.
The encounter was jointly carried out by the police and the army. The police in a statement said all the three were terrorists, but were not listed as terrorists in police records.
“Although the three killed terrorists in encounter were not mentioned in our list of terrorists, yet two of them are hardcore associates of terrorists (OGWs),” the police said in the statement.
The police use the term “OGW” or “over-ground worker” for any person they suspect to have links with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
The police said one of the dead was a relative of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Rayees Kachroo, who was killed in 2017.
Those killed on Wednesday’s encounter have been identified as Ajaz Maqbool Ganie and Ather Mushtaq, residents of Pulwama, and Zubair Lone, a resident of Shopian. Ajaz Maqbool Ganie is the son of a head constable posted in Ganderbal district, according to his relatives.
The encounter in Srinagar took place just four days after the police filed a chargesheet against an Army Captain and two others for killing three innocent men in Shopian and passed them as Pakistani terrorists in July.
A court of inquiry by the Army has also indicted the soldiers for killing the innocent men. After the encounter, the soldiers had claimed they found weapons at the site of the encounter. The investigation later found that weapons were planted by the troops on the bodies of three labourers.
After Wednesday’s encounter, the police said they recovered an assault rifle and two pistols.
The police denied the allegations of the families, adding the families don’t know about the activities of their children. “Generally, parents don’t have idea about the activities of their wards. Several OGWs after committing terror crimes like grenade throwing and pistol shooting stay normally with their family,” the police statement said.
The families said the men left home just a day before the encounter. They protested outside the police control room in Srinagar. They said two of the three were students who had come to Srinagar for admission in an institution.
“They were present at home till yesterday. How come they turned terrorists overnight and were killed in encounter?” said a relative of one of the men.
The National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party have demanded a probe.