Return bodies to families, says Gupkar alliance; LG orders probe


The Hindu

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Hyderpora encounter: Return bodies to families, says Gupkar alliance; LG orders magisterial probe

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of Jammu and Kashmir’s regional parties, on Thursday met in Srinagar over the Hyderpora incident and resolved to help the three families to get the bodies of “civilians” killed in the encounter.

“We did not meet for any political process or to hold elections. All we want is to safeguard the lives of our people. We appeal to the people of Jammu as well that we are together to save the lives, Constitution, and institutions which should guarantee the security of the common man,” Gupkar alliance spokesman M.Y. Tarigami stated.

The meeting was held at the residence of Gupkar alliance chairman Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

“In case such incidents don’t stop and bodies are not returned, we will knock every door to raise our voice. Members of Parliament will also raise the issues in Parliament,” Tarigami, a CPI(M) leader, said.

The Gupkar alliance demanded that those involved “should be dealt as per the law” and “the bodies should be returned”.

“Those involved, irrespective of their position, are violators and deserve punishment,” Tarigami remarked. Dr. Abdullah approached the administration to allow him to meet the families but permission was not granted. “Burial [of the bodies] is not being allowed, citing several issues including COVID-19, security reasons, which is against the constitution,” he added.

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah also held a sit-in in solidarity with the families, which were protesting and demanding the bodies.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the encounter in Hyderpora, Srinagar, November 15 after three families claimed that the three deceased out of the four killed during the operation were “civilians”.

The order came hours after the police removed the family members from a protest site in the city. “A magisterial inquiry by an officer of ADM [additional district magistrate] rank has been ordered in Hyderpora encounter. The government will take suitable action as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner. The J&K administration reiterates commitment of protecting lives of innocent civilians and it will ensure there is no injustice,” a statement issued by Raj Bhawan read.

There has been a growing public outcry over the incident. Earlier, in a midnight action, the family members and protesters who had gathered at the Press Enclave in Srinagar on Wednesday to demand the bodies of the “civilians” were evicted and the sit-in was disallowed by the police. The family members were seen being dragged and bundled into a police vehicle during the police action that was carried out after snapping electricity in the area.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said she was disallowed to come out of her residence to join the protest. “Their narrative right from the start was based on lies to escape accountability. They don’t want to be held accountable for their actions and that’s why they are muzzling voices that speak up against such injustice and atrocities,” she said in a tweet.

She accused the police of arresting party leaders Najmu Saqib and Suhail Bukhari. “They too have been arrested. The pattern of using innocent civilians as human shields and then denying their families the right to a decent burial shows that the Government of India has plumbed new depths of inhumanity,” she stated.

Sharing a video of the police action at night, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said, “This is the ‘Naya Kashmir’ of 2021. This is how the J&K police fulfills the Prime Minister’s promise to remove ‘dil ki doori and Dilli se doori’. It’s outrageous that the J&K administration did not allow the families to conduct a peaceful sit-in.”

The Hurriyat, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has called for a shutdown on Friday over the killings. “Infant daughter, distraught mother protesting in freezing weather not for punishment to the killers but begging for the bodies for a decent burial is agonising,” the Mirwaiz said in a statement.

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