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Srinagar Gunfight: Lieutenant Governor Assured Impartial Enquiry, Says NC

SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has assured an impartial enquiry into the controversial encounter in Lawaypora area of Srinagar.

On Wednesday the Army and police had claimed to have killed three militants in an encounter at Lawapora area of Srinagar.

The three slain have been identified as Ajaz Ahmed Ganai and Athar Mushtaq Wani of Pulwama and Zubair Ahmed Lone of Shopian.

Army said they had tracked the militants on the basis of intelligence inputs, adding that the latter “fired indiscriminately” and even lobbed grenades at the forces.

“For past many days, intelligence inputs were pouring in continuously about the movement of militants on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Yesterday (Tuesday), we developed leads and came to know that militants are hiding in a house right opposite to Noora hospital at Lawaypora in HMT area,” said General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the counter-insurgency Kilo Force, H.S. Sahi.

The families of slain have disputed the account of an army that the three were militants and claimed they had no links with any militant groups.

Taking to social networking site Twitter, JKNC wrote: “MP Anantnag @masoodi_hasnain spoke to J&K LG @manojsinha_ yesterday evening and expressed his anguish over the reports surrounding Wednesday’s encounter around HMT area in Srinagar. Mr. Manoj Sinha assured an impartial enquiry into the matter.”

Earlier in a statement issued on Thursday, Masoodi sought an impartial investigation into the “killings and had impressed on the government to clear the ambiguities leading to the killing of three youth”.

“The police version is not convincing and clear-cut; it is an admitted case of police that none of the three youth in their early twenties were in the militant list; two of the youth are admitted not to have been involved in militant activities and said to be OGWs. In the case of a third boy who is twenty years old, it is said that he ‘might have joined militant ranks”, he said, adding, “The statement joined together is far from convincing and lends support to the version of families of the slain trio that they were innocent and not involved in any militant activity”.

He asked the government to recall the Shopian killing and subsequent findings that those killed were innocent and had come all the way from Rajouri to earn livelihoods and continue their studies.

He demanded a thorough investigation into the issue and return of bodies of slain youth to their families so that their last rites are observed by their families at their respective places.

Masoodi said the matter warrants time-bound inquiry as the versions of the family and the police are contradictory. “The version of the family in wake of the ambiguous version of police seems to be nearer to the truth. Therefore it becomes imperative upon the government to come clean on the matter. In previous Shopian killings, the boys were found innocent,” he said.

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