Lawaypora Gunfight: Families demand probe by SIT

Lawaypora Gunfight - Families of slain youth protest in Srinagar
The distressed families during a protest in Press Colony Srinagar

PULWAMA — The three families from south Kashmir, whose kin were killed in Lawaypora encounter on December 30 last year, on Thursday demanded a special investigation team (SIT) probe into the killing.

The three youth, namely Athar Mushtaq resident of Bellow Pulwama, Aijaz Ahmad resident of Putrigam Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian, were killed in an encounter at Lawaypora in the outskirts of Srinagar on December 30.

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While as Police and Army claimed that the trio were militants, their families claimed them to be innocent and killed in a staged encounter.

The trio’s family also asked authorities to break silence on the encounter and either prove their wards militants or return the bodies.

Mushtaq Wani, father of Athar Mushtaq questioned the government’s silence on the issue. “Two weeks have passed but no investigation has been ordered. We too were silent as we had given time to the authorities to prove that our sons were militants but they have failed to do so,” Wani said.

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Wani added, “Authorities must start the investigation at the earliest.”

Family members of Zubair Ahmad also said that if any way authorities can prove their son was a militant, they will never seek his body. “However, if they have failed to get single evidence against him, then they must return his body and punish the culprits who killed him,” they said.

Mohammed Maqbool, father of Aijaz Ahmad, also echoed the same voice and said that authorities must come clear and break the silence.

The families of the trio also said that if they were hardcore OGWs, then there would have been at least a single FIR registered against them. “If they would have joined militant ranks, they would have called their families once that they got trapped but we didn’t receive any call during the 18-hour-long encounter,” they said.

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“Trio were innocent and were killed in a fake encounter,” they said while requesting authorities to constitute SIT and investigate the matter besides returning their dead bodies.

Earlier, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha said that he will come up with facts about the Lawaypora encounter at an “appropriate time.”

“Let me tell you that J&K is a very sensitive UT. I have noted all versions including that of forces’ and the families of the (slain trio). I will come up with facts before you at an appropriate time,” he said.

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