Srinagar :A senior J&K Police officer who headed the Special Investigation Team to probe the November 15-16 Hyderpora encounter on Tuesday said the building owner Altaf Bhat- who was among the four killed- was used as a “human shield ” by the Pakistani militant and was killed in “cross-firing”.
Deputy Inspector General of central Kashmir Sujit Kumar who headed the SIT probe said Dr Mudassir Gul, was shot dead by the Pakistani militant Bilal Bahi who was killed in the gunfight.
Kumar who addressed the press conference in presence of J&K Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Vijay Kumar, said Amir Magrey was Bilal’s associate.
On November 15-16, four persons were killed during an encounter at Hyderpora in Srinagar. Police initially said two militants including a suspected Pakistani, Haider alias Bilal Bhai and his associate Amir Ahmad, resident of Banihal (a hybrid militant), a terrorist associate Dr Mudassir Gul and building owner Altaf Bhat were killed during the operation.
Families of Bhat, Gul and Aamir contested police claims saying the three were civilians. The four were buried at Handwara forests in north Kashmir. After protests, the bodies of Bhat and Gul were handed over to the families for burial.
“The building owner Altaf was made a human shield by the terrorist and killed in a cross-fire. Mudassir was killed by the terrorist,” DIG said.
In a detailed presentation about the investigations, he said the CCTV footage and other evidence show that building owner Altaf was used as a human shield by Bilal Bhai, who was living in Mudassir Gul’s chamber along with Amir Magray.
The DIG said that CCTV footage shows that Gul used to travel with the foreign terrorist in his vehicle in Srinagar city.
“Amir used to travel to Bandipora and Gurez,” DIG Kumar said adding that “foreign terrorist used Dr Mudassir Gul’s apartment as his hideout.”
He said Bilal Bahi has infiltrated through Gurez.
He said that when the operation was launched Magray lied about the presence of foreign terrorist in the building.
“We had information about a foreign and a local terrorist hiding in the building after which searches were launched. Two pistols and four magazines were recovered from the encounter site,” the DIG said.
He said that the family of the building owner hasn’t given them proper replies as to who was living on the rent, what was their rent payment system, rent deed etc. “There are no satisfactory details from Altaf’s family as to whom the building chamber have been rented,” he said.
The SIT head said that they have confessional statements who have confirmed the identity of the foreign militant.
“Amir had even sent a picture to a friend with a pistol,” he said, adding that Amir facilitated Bilal’s accommodation in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the J&K government has received the magisterial inquiry report regarding the Hyderpora encounter.
“The inquiry report has been received by the Government and the District Magistrate has been advised to send the report to the Judicial Magistrate having jurisdiction under section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as mandated under law,” a statement by the government said.
The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) termed the police briefing on Hyderpora a repetition of an old story and said nothing short of a credible judicial probe will clear the doubts.
“Today’s press briefing of J&K police about last month’s Hyderpora tragic incident is only a repetition of old story. It does not even, slightly give any objective picture of this shocking incident,” PAGD spokesman M Y Tarigami said in a statement.
“There is a strong public perception that the civilians killed in the incident were made human shields by the security forces and the latest statement of the police seems to be a concocted cover up story. It will not suffice the legitimate concerns of the people at large and family of the slain victims,” the statement added.
“PAGD firmly believes that nothing short of a credible judicial probe will clear the doubts. The administration must ,without any further delay, order a time bound judicial probe,” it added .
Earlier the day, the Special Investigation Team of J&K police probing the controversial November 15-16 Hyderpora encounter said the building owner Altaf Bhat was used as a “human shield ” by the Pakistani militant and was killed in “cross-firing”. The SIT said Dr Mudassir Gul was shot dead by the Pakistani militant Bilal Bahi who was killed in the gunfight along with his aide Aamir.