Kashmir: They were innocent, say families of three youth killed in encounter

Srinagar: Hours after security forced claimed to have killed three militants in an encounter in Srinagar, the families of the slain youth claim that they were innocent and were not involved in any militancy related activity.

The families staged a protest near the Police Control Room in Batamaloo, Srinagar and demanded a high-level probe into what they called a fake encounter.

“He left home to submit examination form, how can he be a militant,” said a family member of Aijaz who was one of the slain killed in the encounter.

The family members of the trio are demanding their dead bodies.

On Tuesday evening, a joint team of security forces launched a cordon and a search operation in Lawaypora area, in the outskirts of Srinagar, following inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

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The operation was suspended last night due to darkness and was resumed early Wednesday morning, said an official. The security forced claimed that the three militants killed in the encounter were planning a big attack on the highway.

At a press briefing, calling the encounter a big success, General Officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force HS Sahi said, “Since the past many days, we had inputs about the movement of militants on Srinagar-Baramulla Highway. Yesterday night we got leads about the presence of militants in the house which is opposite to Noora Hospital at Lawaypora, HMT area.”

Police confirmed the identity of the militants as Ather Mushtaq from Pulwama, Aijaz Maqbool from Pulwama, and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian.

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The families of the trio claim that they were students and had left home yesterday.

It is important to mention that the Jammu and Kashmir Police recently filed a chargesheet against three persons, including an army officer, for killing three youth in a fake encounter in Shopian district earlier this year.

The chargesheet revealed how the army officer along with his two aides took the three victims in a pre-arranged vehicle to a spot near an orchard and made them walk before shooting them.

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