Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has booked seven people, including the father and family members of the minor who was killed in a “gunfight” in Srinagar on 30 December 2020, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for “organizing illegal processions under criminal conspiracy”.
A senior police official told The Kashmir Walla that an FIR (No. 7/2021) was filed against the seven residents of Pulwama district in south Kashmir under sections 147, 341, 153 IPCs, and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) at the police station Rajpora in Pulwama.
The sections under which the case has been filed are punishment for rioting, punishment for wrongful restraint, wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot and also section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for anyone who advocates, abets, advises or incites the commission of, any unlawful activity, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
The police official further said that on 5 February 2021, the police station Rajpora had received information “through reliable sources that after offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid Abu Bakr in Bellow village, a violent mob appeared near the mosque”.
“The mob was led by seven people to obstruct the main road and were raising anti-national slogans against the integrity of the nation. The said persons are organizing such illegal processions under criminal conspiracy and are abetting anti-national elements,” the official said.
The seven people named by the police include Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, father of Ather Mushtaq, the teenager killed in the Srinagar “gunfight”. It also names Athar’s two uncles Mohammad Shafi Wani and Mohammad Hussain Wani. The other four people named are Fayaz Ahmad Wani son of Mohammad Sultan, Jalaludin Wani son of Mohammad Sultan, Ruba Mir son of Mushtaq Ahmad Mir, and Mushtaq Ahmad Mir son of Ama Mir.
Speaking to The Kashmir Walla over the phone from his residence in Pulwama, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said, “Eight people have been booked in the FIR including a local cleric”. He added other than him, two of his brothers were also booked in the FIR.
“The police told me to stop talking to the media and to forget whatever has happened,” Wani told The Kashmir Walla, “and to shut my mouth.”
“My relatives have also been booked, the FIR was registered on Friday, local SHO [Station House Officer] and DSP [Deputy Superintendent of Police] came to my home,” said Wani.
The Kashmir Walla reached out to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Ashish Mishra, who was not available. While the SHO of Rajpora denied commenting on the matter.
On 30 December 2020, three persons were killed in an alleged gunfight in Srinagar’s outskirts in Lawaypora. Their families later staged a protest outside the Police Control Room, in Srinagar, claiming their sons were innocents.
The killed trio was identified as: Athar, an eleventh standard student from Bellow, Aijaz Ganaie, a graduate from Putrigam, both in Pulwama district, and Zubair Lone, a carpenter from Turkwangam from Shopian.
Since then, the police in a series of statements have maintained that the trio had links with militants. However, the families continue to demand the bodies of their kin, who were buried in a discreet graveyard in Central Kashmir’s Sonamarg.
On the day gunfight concluded, the Army’s General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Kilo Force, H. S. Sahi, said: “With the first light the firefight again resumed and militants used heavy ammunition against security forces.” Sahi claimed that the “three militants killed in the gunfight at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts were planning a big strike”.
Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said: “After losing his son in an alleged fake encounter, Athar Mushtaq’s father has been slapped with an FIR for demanding his dead body. His crime was to stage a peaceful protest. The inhabitants of Naya Kashmir can’t even question a callous admin and have been reduced to living corpses.”
Additional reporting by Yashraj Sharma.