Three weeks after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) leader Burhan Wani was killed in a gun battle with Indian forces in held Kashmir the joint government of Peoples Democratic Alliance (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still unable to explain the government’s position on the killing of the separatist leader.
“It was an accident. If we had known about it earlier then we would have taken precautions prior to operation,” said Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh on Sunday.
However, hours after making the statement, which echoed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement that security forces would have given a chance to Wani had they known about his presence in the target house at Bamdoora village in Anantnag, Singh backtracked saying, “Facts have been misinterpreted.”
“I was asked about government’s failure on controlling the violence that happened after the operation. I said precautions would have been taken so that violence would not have happened after Burhan’s killing,” the BJP leader said.
The BJP had earlier contradicted Mufti’s statement about Wani’s presence in the house where an intelligence-based operation was conducted by Indian security forces.
The party claimed that security forces had the intelligence and the identity of a militant “does not matter” in such situations. Terming the killing of Wani a “success”, Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Sat Sharma said security forces do not act “without information”.
“As far as the question of the event (killing of Wani) is concerned, definitely the security forces had the knowledge… they knew who was inside and they undertook their job after taking everything into consideration,” he said.
More than 50 people have been killed and thousands injured in weeks of unrest in Indian held Kashmir, sparked by Wani’s killing on July 8.
Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since the two won independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.
Several rebel groups, including HM, have been fighting for decades an estimated 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the restive territory, demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands, most civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989 when the armed rebellion against Indian rule of the Himalayan territory began.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the de facto border known as Line of Control, to launch attacks on its forces.
Islamabad denies the allegation, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri struggle for right to self-determination.
This article originally appeared on NDTV.