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Families of 2 killed in Kashmir operation demand bodies

3 'militants', 1 civilian were killed during operation in capital Srinagar on Monday

Hilal Mir   | 16.11.2021
Families of 2 killed in Kashmir operation demand bodies Relatives and neighbors mourn at the residence of civilian Muhammad Altaf Bhat in Barzulla area of Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir. (AA Photo: Faisal Khan)

Jammu and Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

The family of a civilian who was killed Monday during an operation by the government forces in Indian-administered Kashmir said he was used as a human shield and had no links whatsoever with militants as claimed by the police.

However, top police official Vijay Kumar told reporters that police worked on inputs about the presence of militants along a highway in the capital Srinagar and zeroed in on a spot in the Hyderpora area.

He said the militants fired at the forces and in the "ensuing operation" a "foreign militant and his local associates were killed."

Three alleged militants were killed during an operation in Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday. The owner of the house, Altaf Ahmad, where the militants were hiding was also killed in the crossfire, according to police.

Police said Mudasir Ahmad had harbored the other two deceased militants at his rented accommodation in the building owned by Altaf Ahmad.

Kumar said Mudasir was also involved in ferrying the deceased foreign militant, Haider, after a recent attack in the old city area of Jamalatta.

Though Altaf Ahmed was killed in the crossfire, it was not certain yet whose bullet hit him and this will become clear only after examination of the pistols recovered from the deceased militants, the police official said.

Asma Bhat, the niece of Altaf Ahmad, however, told Anadolu Agency that the police used his uncle as a human shield during the operation. She said that at the beginning of the cordon and search operation, Ahmed and several other nearby shopkeepers were assembled in the building by security forces.

During the operation, Ahmed was twice taken away but each time he returned. However, the third time he got killed, she said.

Asma Bhat said the family members protested during the night and demanded that Ahmed's body should be returned to them for last rites.

"My uncle was in his mid-forties and was the father of three kids. He had a flourishing business and had no connection with militants," she said and added that the family members met the deputy commissioner of Srinagar to claim the body on Tuesday.

According to Kumar, the body was not handed to the family because of apprehension of "law and order disturbance".

The police stopped handing bodies of militants killed during gunfights to the families since last year and instead bury them in remote hamlets in presence of family members.

On Tuesday, several family members of Mudasir Ahmad gathered at Press Enclave, a place in the city where offices of several media outlets are located, and demanded his body. His mother told reporters that Mudasir's two small children want to see his face one last time. Mudasir's family also said he had no links with militants.

- Pakistan condemns killing of Kashmiris

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of four more Kashmiris and called it an “extrajudicial killing” carried out by Indian forces.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said at least 25 people were killed by Indian forces in fake encounters during the so-called cordon and search operations since Oct. 1, 2021.

“Extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions, daily harassments and restrictions on fundamental freedoms, continue to be the norm in IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir),” said Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, a spokesman for the ministry.

Islamabad also called on the international community to take notice of the ongoing human rights violation and hold India accountable for crimes committed against humanity in the Indian-administered Kashmir.

The prime minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi also expressed concern over the killings of Kashmiri youth.

“I have grave concerns over the continued killing of Kashmiri youth by Indian forces, house searches and deployment of fresh troops in occupied Kashmir,” he tweeted and added that every tactic of India will fail miserably and Kashmiris will continue their struggle for independence at all costs.

-Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Indian and Pakistani troops have also fought intermittently in the northern Siachen region since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.

* Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Islamabad

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