‘Cold blooded’ killings spark outrage in IIOJK

Police says two freedom fighters martyred in crossfire


AFP November 17, 2021
Indian paramilitary troops stand guard on a street in Srinagar. AFP/FILE

SRINAGAR:

Two men martyred alongside a pair of freedom fighters in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) were gunned down in "cold blood" by security forces, a relative of one of the dead said on Tuesday.

According to police, two freedom fighters were martyred the night before during a shootout inside a commercial centre in Srinagar. The building's owner Mohammad Altaf Bhat and tenant Mudasir Ahmed also died in "crossfire", the police added.

While police had earlier claimed that Bhat was connected to the martyred freedom fighters, his niece Saima Bhat said her uncle and Ahmed were civilians who had been murdered in "cold blood".

Saima, a journalist in Srinagar, said that there was no gunfight the night her uncle was killed. "He was taken... as a human shield and when they couldn't find anything, he was killed there," she told Kashmirwala, a local newspaper.

Read Thousands of migrant workers in IIOJK moved to secure locations, hundreds flee

Inspector general of police Vijay Kumar had said that both Bhat and Ahmed were working as "terror associates". "#Terrorists have been hiding on top floor of his building," he was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Twitter late Monday.

Eyewitnesses said army troops and police cordoned off the area on Monday evening, confiscating dozens of phones from shopkeepers and passersby.

"They later took Mohammad Altaf inside the building for a search and Mudasir also accompanied the soldiers," an eyewitness told AFP on condition of anonymity, fearing police reprisals.

Police did not return the bodies of Bhat and Ahmed to their families, instead burying them without relatives present in the middle of the night.

The Peoples Democratic Party called for a "speedy investigation" into the murder claims. "Least (police) could do is hand over the dead body to the family for a decent burial. Are even dead ones a threat to peace now?" the party wrote on Twitter.

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