In Hyderpora inquiry, no eyewitness shows up, no CCTV footage retrieved

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Ten days after the government ordered a magisterial probe into the Hyderpora gunfight in which four people were killed , no eyewitnesses have turned up to record their statement and neither authorities have been able to retrieve the CCTV footage from the alleged gunfight site.

Sources in the District Magistrate Office told The Kashmir Walla, that apart from the two families of Muhammad Altaf Bhat and Amir Lateef Magray that were called to record their statement, no eyewitness has appeared before the inquiry officer to recount 15 November incident.

The investigation team, sources added, has also not been able to retrieve any CCTV footage of the gunfight, despite summoning some of the owners of the shops and showrooms in the vicinity.

“They [inquiry officer] had called the owner of the showroom where people were assembled before the gunfight took place. However, the owner has said that the CCTV was not working in the office that day,” sources said.

A resident of Barzulla, Muhammad Altaf Bhat, a businessman and resident of Budgam, Mudasir Gul, who also ran an office in the same building, where the alleged gunfight took place on Monday last week, were shot dead along with Amir Ahmad Magray, a resident of Ramban and employee of Gul. The police claimed that the trio were killed along with a foreign militant Haidar.

On 19 November, the government appointed Additional District Magistrate Srinagar Khurshid Ahmad Shah as an Inquiry Officer (IO) to probe the incident and directed him to submit the report within 15 days.

“A magisterial inquiry by an officer of ADM rank has been ordered in the Hyderpora encounter. Government will take suitable action as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner. JK admin reiterates commitment of protecting lives of innocent civilians & it will ensure there is no injustice,” an official statement said.

The magisterial probe was ordered after Bhat’s and Mudasir’s family staged a protest rejecting the police claims that the slain were involved in militancy.

Talking to The Kashmir Walla, the slain families said that they have received an official invitation from the authorities to visit the District Magistrate office to record their statement.

“We were told to visit the office on Monday between 11 am to 3 pm and record our statement before the inquiry officer,” said Abdul Majid Bhat, elder brother of slain Mohammad Altaf Bhat.

Bhat said that he raised the issue of not handing over the building (which later turned into a gunfight site) before the ADM.

“I told them that under which capacity the police broke the lock of the building (next day after the incident) and entered without taking along any family members with them,” Bhat said. “I also told the inquiry officer that the police might have planted anything in the building, as there was no one from the family accompanying them.”

Amir’s father Muhammad Lateef Magray said they appeared before the ADM on last Thursday and recorded their statement.

“We told the Magistrate that our son was innocent and was killed in cold blood. We also demanded for the return of his body,” Magray said.

Magray said that ADM gave a patient hearing to them and assured that justice would be done in the case.

“He [ADM] told us that whosoever will be found guilty in any wrongdoing in the case will be punished,” Magray said.

The Additional District Magistrate Srinagar, Khurshid Ahmad Shah, told The Kashmir Walla that they have recorded families’ statements of the incident.

“The investigation is going on. The families came and recorded their statement,” Shah said.

Shah said that he would try to conclude the investigation in a given time but didn’t rule out the possibility of seeking an extension, if needed. 

“We still have five days to complete the investigation. Let us see what happens. I had given 10 days to people to come forward and record their statements,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mudasir Gul’s family said that they also received a letter from the authorities to record their statement and would appear before the ADM in the next couple of days.

“We were supposed to appear before the ADM today, but the family has decided to visit either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Gul’s family said. 

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