Majid Kapra

Lawaypora Encounter: Family of one of the three slain youth stage protest, seek probe

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Demand return of body for burial in family graveyard

Photo-Javed Khan/Kashmir Images

SRINAGAR: Family of one of the three youth, who were killed in an overnight ‘controversial’ encounter at Lawaypora on the city outskirts last week, today staged a protest here to seek impartial probe into the killing of their son.

The family members of slain youth, Athar Mushtaq son of Mushtaq Ahmad Wani of Bellow Pulwama demanded that mortal remains of their lone son be returned for burial at their ancestral graveyard in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

They alleged that their lone son, a class 11th student was killed in a ‘fake encounter’ organized by the army in Lawaypora last week and was later fobbed off as militant.

Carrying placards in their hands which read “justice for Athar, we want complete investigation of this innocent killing” family members and other relatives of slain, amid sloganeering assembled at Press Enclave here this afternoon and staged a protest.

Three youth Ajaz Maqbool Ganai (24) from Putrigam Pulwama, 22-year-old Zubair Ahmad Lone from Turkawangam Shopian and Athar Muhstaq Wani (17) from Bellow Pulwama, were killed on December 31 in an overnight encounter at Lawaypora on the outskirts of Srinagar.

The protestors also demanded that body of their son be returned to them for burial at his ancestral graveyard in Bellow Pulwama where his father has already dug up a grave.

Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, father of Athar while rubbishing army and police version that slain was a militant alleged that his son was murdered for ‘rewards and ovations’ only. He said the body of his son be returned for burial at his family graveyard.

“What crime had my son committed that you pumped bullets in his chest. He was apple of my eyes, you destroyed my world. Now I have nothing left. You will get more awards and will be applauded by your mothers and sisters for this brave act,” said Mushtaq before falling unconscious.

Athar’s aunt said that her nephew was a class 11th student having clean police record with no involvement in any subversive activity like stone pelting or participating in protests or funerals of militants.

“Our son was innocent; he was killed in fake encounter ‘arranged’ by the army, he was lone son of his parents. His upbringing was done in extremely tough conditions. Now kindly return our son’s body, his father has already dug up a grave for him in his family graveyard,” she added.

“Bodies are properties of families as clearly elucidated in international and human rights laws. Why are you afraid of handing over dead bodies?” asked Angad Singh, a social activist from south Kashmir.

“See an Indian army soldier is not an angel and he can also make mistakes. We have seen what happened with three youth from Rajouri in (Amshipora) Shopian. You are media-men, please tell me wasn’t it exposed later,” he said.

“If they (the slain youth) were involved in militancy, please prove to us; you cannot be the court, judge and jury all by yourself,” Singh added.

He asked how could a teenager like Athar, who had no case registered against him with police during a short life span of 16 years becomes a “hardcore over ground worker (OGW of militants)” within an hour- and-half.

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