Srinagar: Two months after the Hyderpora killings in which three civilians were killed, family of one of the slain Muhammad Altaf Bhat are still waiting for the magisterial probe of the incident.
On 15 November, an alleged gunfight took place in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar in which three civilians Muhammad Altaf Bhat, a resident of Barzulla; Dr. Mudasir Gul, a resident of Budgam and Amir Ahmad Magray, a resident of Ramban were killed.
However, the families of Bhat and Gul raised questions about the alleged gunfight and demanded an independent probe into the incident.
On 19 November, the government had initiated a magisterial probe into the incident and was supposed to submit the report within 15 days. However, the outcome of the investigation is yet to be made public.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Saima Bhat, niece of Muhammad Altaf, said that two months have passed neither the magisterial report has not been made public nor has the family been provided the FIR, autopsy or ballistic report.
“Two months have passed since we were promised justice by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha neither the magisterial report has been made public nor have we been provided a copy of the FIR, autopsy or ballistic reports so far,” she said.
Bhat said that the family had also requested for a fresh FIR into the “murder” of their kin.
“We have even formally requested them to file a new FIR for the murder of my beloved [Muhammad Altaf Bhat], killed in Hyderpora. Why is justice so elusive in Kashmir?,” Bhat said.
Sharing Bhat’s tweet, senior National Conference (NC) leader and former Member of legislative Assembly (MLA) Ruhullah Mehdi said that the family is alone in the quest for justice.
“Isn’t it what we (not including the family) asked for. Isn’t it what we actually meant when we said in an apologetic language while “protesting” that we are asking for the return of the bodies, we are not asking for justice? Today this family is alone in the quest for that justice.(sic),” Mehdi tweeted.
As reported earlier, The Kashmir Walla exclusively spoke to at least four eyewitnesses who were on the spot during the gunfight and said that Mohammad Altaf, who along with other people were initially assembled in a nearby showroom, before they were taken to the gunfight site, was taken into the building thrice before he was killed.
On 30 December, the SIT head Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Central Kashmir Sujit Kumar Singh gave clean chit to the government forces and said that Muhammad Altaf Bhat was killed in a “cross-firing” after being used as a human shield by the militant hiding inside the house.
Kumar claimed that the other two civilians-Mudasir Gul- was killed by a “foreign militant Bilal Bhai” while the third civilian Amir Lateef Magray [who police said was a militant associate] was also killed in a cross-firing while he tried to escape from the spot.
Kumar also rejected the eyewitness account that Muhammad Altaf was taken thrice into the building, stating that as per the CCTV footage he [Muhammad Altaf] voluntarily choose to enter the building only once where militant used him a shield to escape from the spot.
Initially, all the four bodies were buried about 90 kilometers from the capital city Srinagar, Wudder Payeen village in north Kashmir’s Handwara district. However, succumbing to the family pressure, the authorities later handed over the bodies of Bhat and Gul to be buried in their ancestral graveyard. However, the body of Amir has not been returned to his family.