Hyderpora victims’ families disagree with SIT report

There are many holes in the SIT report, says brother of deceased local

The families of victims of the Hydepora “encounter” on Wednesday disagreed with the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) report on the sequence of events that left one non-local militant and three locals, including an alleged “militant associate”, dead on November 16.

“My brother was taken along by different wings of the security agencies to search the building at Hyderpora three times. How did the foreign militant take him as a human shield? What did the security forces do to get him released? Is the SIT report plausible?” Abdul Majeed Bhat, elder brother of victim Altaf Bhat who owned the building, told The Hindu.

The J&K Police’s SIT has not made the post mortem reports of the slain youths public so far. Mr. Bhat said eyewitnesses had told the family they heard his brother’s shrieks after he was taken inside the building.

“When we received the body after three days, there were injuries made by sharp object on the back side of the head and one eye was swollen. There were clear signs of torture,” Mr. Bhat alleged.

Describing his slain brother a “law abiding citizen”, the family said it was cooperating with the SIT and the magistrate investigating the incident.

“The police summoned us twice and asked for building and rent-related documents. We could not produce the same as the security forces seized the building on the day of the encounter and handed over its possession after 43 days yesterday (Tuesday). My brother used to keep all his documents in a locker inside the building. When we checked the room, the locker was broken and the papers were scattered,” Mr. Bhat said.

“The police have served us a third summon regarding the building papers and rent records. There is no question of repeated summons, as suggested by the police, or us failing to respond to them. There are many holes in the SIT report,” he added.

The family has asked the SIT to release the CCTV footage from nearby showrooms and buildings of the fateful day.

Humaira Gul, wife of another victim Mudasir Gul, who ran a real estate business from the building, said the SIT report has dashed her hopes of getting justice.

“Instead of admitting that my husband was murdered, they try to defame him. I know my husband, who was also a father of a one-year-old kid. He was not remotely connected to militants. The SIT report is a cooked-up story,” Ms. Gul said.

She said her worry now is what she will tell her baby daughter once she grows up. “The case is widely highlighted. My daughter will get to know about it one day. How will it impact her life? This worry eats me up inside,” she said.

Ms. Gul said she has even lost hope with the magisterial probe. “I am the wife of Dr. Gul and have been protesting for justice. I was never called by the magistrate to know about his background or character. I am yet to get a copy of the post mortem,” she said. Ms. Gul is the slain doctor’s second wife, with whom he was living.

She said the police claim that the foreign militant may have been living in the building with Amir Magray, who worked as a helper to Dr. Gul for a month is “unacceptable”.

“Will no one around see it or get suspicious? Let the police release the complete CCTV footage,” she said, while demanding a judicial probe into the incident. “I never doubted Amir’s character, ever.”

According to the SIT report, Bhat was killed in crossfire; Dr. Gul was killed by foreign militants; and the foreign militant and Magray were killed in the “encounter”.

Parties protest

The J&K Apni Party and the Peoples Conference also questioned the veracity of the SIT report.

“Who are the police to give a clean chit in the Hyderpora incident? Our party doesn’t accept the probe conducted by police. A judicial probe has to be conducted,” Apni Party leader Altaf Bukhari said.

He also submitted a memorandum to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on the recent Delimitation Commission report and termed it “unscientific and in violation to the laid down parameters”.

The Peoples Conference also termed the findings of the SIT “a fig leaf to legitimise violence by the State”.

“We don’t even have a modicum of belief that the government will actually have the moral courage to own up to a wrong and apologise for the same,” a People’s Conference spokesperson said.

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