A family from Anantnag district of south Kashmir has claimed that their son was killed by government forces in a “fake gunfight” in Kulgam district on Sunday. The family has written to the District Magistrate in Anantnag “appealing” for a First Information Report and a probe into his killing.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police had claimed that one unidentified militant was killed in a gunfight in Sursano village of Kulgam after the police and the Army’s 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) launched a search operation at 5:45 am.
This is the second instance in the last thirty days where a family has fiercely claimed the innocence of their sons killed by the government forces. On 30 June, a 17-year-old teenger was killed outside his home, during the gunfight in Kulgam. His family refuted the allegations that he was a militant and maintained that he was an innocent civilian. Two militants were also killed in the gunfight.
On Sunday’s gunfight, the police claimed in a statement that “during the search operation, the terrorists hiding in the orchids started firing indiscriminately upon the security forces, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, one terrorist was killed whose identity is yet to be ascertained.”
The Dar family identified their son from a photograph of a body shown to them after the alleged gunfight had ended. The killed youth has been identified as Imran Qayoom Dar, a resident of Batengoo village of Anantnag district.
His father, Abdul Qayoom Dar, in his letter to Anantnag DM Piyush Singla, which is in possession of The Kashmir Walla, has said that he received a call at 8 am on Sunday from the village’s sarpanch who told him that the police demanded that he present himself along with his son at the police post in Khanabal.
“After some time, I received one more call from the police post Khanabal itself and they too informed me [of] the same,” Dar stated in his letter. “I took the matter lightly as I couldn’t think in my wildest dreams that anything terrible would happen. [At] about 4:00 pm I reached [the] police post [at] Khanabal where they showed me the photograph of my son’s dead body.”
At this point, the news of the gunfight and killing of one militant was already circulating across multiple platforms. “I was in a deep state of shock to see the photograph of my dead son. I contacted D.O [Duty Officer] concerned and Dysp [Deputy Superintendent of Police] Ashiq who assured [me] that you can collect the body of your son from PCR [Police Control Room] Srinagar which is lying there,” the letter reads.
After this call, Dar left along with his family to PCR Srinagar where they were informed that the body had been dispatched to a graveyard in Handwara area of north Kashmir for burial at 2:30pm. “We were asked that you are late and the concerned police post should have informed the family and at the same time they should have intimated us about the claimants of the dead body,” Dar told The Kashmir Walla.
A copy of the letter has been marked to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, and Senior Superintendent of Police Anantnag, Imtiyaz Hussain.
Dar further writes that his son “was not involved in militancy related activities nor any member of our family supported any anti-national activities ever.” He further adds that his son “was a civilian… moving freely like any other civilian.”
Speaking with The Kashmir Walla, Abdul Rashid Dar, the Sarpanch, said that he was asked by police post Khanabal to go to Dar’s house. “They told me to ask him to bring his son (Imran). I told him over call but he said his son wasn’t home, if they need to they can go and look for him. That boy was into drug addiction but he never had any militancy related issues. Police knew him through his addiction but he wasn’t ever called for any militancy related issue,” said Dar.
As per Imran’s father, he had met his son last at a petrol pump at 6 pm on Saturday, near his house. “I request your goodself kindly look into the matter personally and help the family to retrieve his dead body and an FIR should be lodged to investigate the matter properly so that justice is delivered as we are a law-abiding family,” Dar added.
“That within less than 24 hours I saw the photograph of his dead body assuring me that he was killed in a fake encounter at Munad Kulgam,” Dar stated.
After the meeting with the DM today, Dar said that the family was promised justice. “He asked for a few days and said that ‘we will make sure you will be given justice’,” Dar told The Kashmir Walla.
Piyush Sangla, the DM Anantnag, told The Kashmir Walla that after receiving the application from the family, he has “sought report from police” on the allegations. The Kashmir Walla also reached out to Gurinderpal Singh, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Kulgam, however, he denied to comment over phone.