Following widespread criticism in Kashmir on the issue of “civilian killings” in the recent Hyderpora encounter, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday ordered a time-bound magisterial enquiry into the incident. However, the Farooq Abdullah led the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), and other valley-based political parties have rejected this and have demanded a judicial enquiry to bring out the truth.
Although the LG said there will be no injustice with the people, the PDP also rejected the magisterial probe which it described as an “eyewash” and demanded independent judicial enquiry or by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
PAGD spokesman and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, while briefing media persons about the PAGD meeting on the issue, said it has been decided to seek the intervention of the President of India whom Dr. Farooq Abdullah will write a letter seeking a judicial probe into the “civilian killings”.
Peoples Conference President Sajad Gani Lone appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his personal intervention in ensuring that justice is delivered to the families of Altaf Bhat and Dr. Mudasir Gul killed in the Hyderpora encounter. He further stated that we can’t have a situation in a democracy where grieving is a luxury, where the freedom to touch and feel the lifeless body of a husband or a father becomes a distant dream.
National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah staged a sit-in protest in Srinagar in support of the demand of kin of the two “civilians” killed during the encounter for returning their bodies for proper burial. He called off the protest after the family member of the slain informed him that the authorities have assured the return of bodies, Omar tweeted.
This is the naya Kashmir of 2021. This is how the J&K police fulfils @PMOIndia promise to remove “dil ki doori & Dilli se doori. It’s outrageous that the J&K administration did not allow the families to conduct a peaceful sit in protest. https://t.co/e5zss2R0cI
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 18, 2021
It is worth mentioning that the police had claimed that the two, who were among the four killed terrorists, were also terror associates, and digital evidence confirming this was available.
Announcing the enquiry, the Lt Governor tweeted; “A magisterial inquiry by an officer of ADM rank has been ordered in Hyderpora encounter. Govt will take suitable action as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner. JK admin reiterates the commitment of protecting lives of innocent civilians & it will ensure there is no injustice”.
PDP’s Political Affairs Committee member Anil Sethi said the magistrate is far too below in bureaucratic hierarchy, susceptible to influence. The inquiry should be either by NHRC or a sitting judge of the High Court.
Mehbooba Mufti, who also wanted to join the protest with relatives of the killed persons, was put under house arrest. A mobile bunker vehicle of the police blocked the gate of her residence and she posted pictures on Twitter showing the gate also locked. “The pattern of using innocent civilians as human shields & then denying their families the right to a decent burial shows that the GOI (Government of India) has plumbed new depths of inhumanity”, she tweeted.
Again under house arrest & PDPs @SAAQQIIB & @Suhail_Bukhari too have been arrested. The pattern of using innocent civilians as human shields & then denying their families the right to a decent burial shows that GOI has plumbed new depths of inhumanity. pic.twitter.com/COnUZdJnix
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 18, 2021
“Their narrative right from the start was based on lies to escape accountability. They don’t want to be held accountable for their actions & that’s why they are muzzling voices that speak up against such injustice & atrocities”, she added.