After the government forces denied the bodies of the three persons killed in an alleged gunfight on Srinagar’s outskirts, on 30 December 2020, the father of one of the killed has dug a grave in their native village of Bellow, in south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
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”. However, after the photographs of the bodies went viral on social media, three families from south Kashmir claimed the killed trio and vouched for their innocence.
In a video message, the father of 17-year-old Ather Wani can be heard saying: “Who do [troopers] kill for their stars? These small children.” Taking a dig at the government forces, the father added: “I congratulate the whole of India and the media who show that they have done an encounter. This was a fake encounter.”
Demanding the body of his son, he said: “I will wait till Im alive. Tomorrow, I’m going to Srinagar and if they don’t return me the body, I’ll commit suicide.”
The killed trio was identified as Ather Wani from Bellow, Pulwama, Aijaz Ganaie from Putrigam, Pulwama, and Zubair Lone from Turkwangam, Shopian.
Earlier, in a statement, the police claimed that “background check also reveals that Aijaz and Ather Mustaq, both OGWs [Over ground workers] variously provided logistic support to terrorists”. “Antecedents and verifications too shows that both were radically inclined and had aided terrorists of LeT (now so-called TRF) outfit. [sic] One of OGW presently under police custody has also corroborated Aijaz’s association with LeT terrorist Faisal Mustaq Baba who was killed in Meej (Pampore) encounter in June last year,” the statement added.