January 5, 2021

Lawaypora Encounter: Families of slain youth demand mortal remains of their sons

Omar, Mehbooba support families’ demand; Police releases 2 videos showing army offering surrender to trapped militants

Family members and relatives of Athar Mushtaq, the youth who was killed in an 'encounter' at Umarabad-Hokersar last week protesting at Press Enclave on Residency road in Srinagar demanding the body of their loved one and a judicial probe in the alleged fake encounter on Monday. UNI

Srinagar: The families of youth who were killed in Lawaypora encounter on December 30 staged a protest in Srinagar on Monday and demanded the mortal remains of their loved ones so that they could have their “last glimpse and burry them with respect.”
The families of two youth that include Athar from Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian districts of South Kashmir assembled here at Srinagar’s Press Enclave and demanded justice.
Father of Athar, amid tears and sobs demanded that the authorities should hand over the body of his son, who was among the three youth killed in the gunfight.
Athar’s sister said that her slain brother left home at 01:00 PM, but he didn’t inform the family where he was going. “We called him in the evening, but his number was switched off. On the other morning, we got a call from a police officer who sought a photograph of my brother and informed us that he was killed in a gunfight,” she said.
She added that they demand justice as her brother was innocent. Moreover, the family of Zubair also gathered at Press Enclave here and pleaded that their son was innocent, saying that they fail to understand how their beloved turned a militant just within two to three hours.
Brother of Zubair, who is a cop said that “we demand the authorities to enquire about the incident so that such kind of incidents will not be repeated in the future. We have seen a similar incident in Amshipora, where authorities claimed that arms and ammunition was recovered from the possession of the slain.”
“Zubair was not in Srinagar on that day. We came to know that his location at around 02:30 was traced at Lassipora, a few kilometers away from our home. We approached the SHO concerned who told us to approach SSP in this regard,” he said.
Muhammad Shafi Lone, Zubair’s another brother said that “our beloved, who was innocent was killed and the statements coming to the fore are quite shocking. Zubair left home at 02:00 PM and was not in Srinagar. There are contrary statements coming to the fore. We want the facts to be made public so that justice will be delivered.”
“In case the statements are proven right, we will be at the forefront to say sorry to the authorities,” he said, adding that during the encounter, the families should have been called to the gunfight site for the surrender, which has not taken place.
Pertinently, authorities said that three militants have been killed in the gunfight at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts while the families contested the claims and pleaded that their beloved are innocent.
The former chief minister of J&K and the National Conference vice-president while taking to his twitter handle wrote: “It is very important that the probe in to the Hokarsar encounter be concluded at the earliest. Only a fair & transparent probe, already promised by LG Manoj Sinha, will satisfy the families who have lost their loved ones who they insist were innocent.” He further stated that the LG has promised a fair & speedy probe into this encounter when JKNC Member Parliament Hasnain Masoodi spoke to him about it recently. “In the interim we hope the LG will order the handing over of the bodies to the families,” Omar wrote.
Echoing similar views, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti reiterated her demand that the bodies of three slain youth killed in Lawaypora encounter be returned to their families and demanded an impartial probe into the gunfight in a time-bound manner. “People and the families of three slain youth are demanding mortal remains of those killed in Lawaypora encounter. Why can’t a mother see the face of her lost one last time, this is injustice, how can you win the hearts of Kashmiris,?” Mehbooba said while talking to reporters at her Gupkar residence.
POLICE RELEASES SURRENDER OFFER VEDIOS As the demand for the return of bodies of three slain youth of Lawaypora encounter has gone louder, Police on Monday released two short videos in which army personnel can be heard offering surrender to “trapped militants” inside a house at Hokersar, Lawaypora on December 29 last and as also on the next day as well.
“On 29/12/20 evening after the cordon at #Hokersar, troops are repeatedly #appealing the trapped #(militants) to come out and #surrender with assurances that they will not be harmed,” police said in the tweet on its official twitter handle. In the 27-second video, a drone can be seen making a round over the suspected house, while an army man makes surrender offer saying, “You are given a chance to surrender. Leave weapons and come out. We assure you that you will not be harmed. Hands up and come out.”
Later, a 26-second video was released, dated 30 December 2020, and army is heard asking the militants: “Do you want to surrender? In case you want to surrender, then remove your clothes and come out in the ground.”
Three youth— 24-year-old Ajaz Maqbool Ganai from Putrigam, Pulwama, 22-year-old Zubair Ahmad Lone from Turkawangam Shopian and Athar Muhstaq Wani from Bellow, Pulwama, were killed on December in the “encounter” at Lawaypora


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