Srinagar, June 5: Police have claimed that the civilians killed near the three encounter sites of South Kashmir were ‘stone-pelters’ who tried to hamper anti-militancy operations.
State Human Rights Commission had sought a detailed report about Dragadh, Kachidoora and Khudwani encounters that claimed at least 8 civilian lives. Chairman, International Forum for Justice Human Rights JK, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo had filed a petition before the Commission seeking justice and compensation to the victim families.
The Dragadh and Kachidoora encounters which claimed four lives took place on April 1, this year. The civilians killed were Mehrajuddin Mir of Okey Kulgam, Muhammad Iqbal of Khasipora Shopian, Zubair Ahmed Bhat and Mushtaq Ahmed Thokar of Dragadh Shopian.
On April 11, four civilians were killed after Forces fired upon protesters trying to help militants escape at Wanimohalla Khudwani Kulgam. A soldier Ganoukar Rao was also killed and two others injured in the encounter while militants managed to escape from the spot.
The four civilians including a minor boy were identified as Sarjeel Sheikh of Khudwani , Bilal Ahmed Tantray of Frisal ,Faisal Ilahi of Melhoora Shopian and Aijaz Ahmed Pala of Bijbehara . The civilian killings sparked students protest across Kashmir forcing government to order the closure of the schools and colleges.
In its report, DIG South Kashmir Range has maintained that the civilians were miscreants who resorted to massive stone-pelting causing injuries to the armed forces. The police has submitted a detailed report with regard to these gunfights alleging that miscreants created havoc near the gunfight sight while despite repeated warnings they didn’t budge. The police have said that maximum restraint was exercised at all the encounter sites.