By Yawar Hussain
SRINAGAR: Days after the controversial killing of Zakir Naik Bashir in an encounter, a pall of fear has descended upon the locals of the picturesque Chimmer village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district who are now refusing to talk to anyone on the matter.
The controversy started on Thursday, a day after the encounter in Chimmer Kulgam in which the police had claimed to have killed three militants of The Resistance Front (TRF) including Waseem Ahmad Bangroo of Redwani Kulgam, Shahnawaz Ahmad of Kilbal Shopian and Zakir Naik Bashir of Chimmer Kulgam.
The family members of Bashir, 17, in a video, had alleged that he was a civilian who was dragged out of his home and killed in cold blood.
However, now the locals are not wishing to talk to media persons about the allegations cast by the family.
In hushed tones, the locals told Kashmir Life that they don’t wish to talk on the matter even on the basis of anonymity.
“If you wish to know what happened then you should visit the village. Everyone is afraid to talk on the phone,” a local said.
Earlier, Bashir’s brother-in-law Farooq Ahmad Bhat had claimed in a video that he (Bashir) was a cricket-loving youth.
“A day prior to the encounter, he (Bashir) was supposed to be part of a cricket match. He asked my wife and his sister to spray chemicals in their orchard instead of him because of his match,” Bhat said.
“On the day of the encounter, Bashir and his brother Ashiq along with me were returned back home for lunchtime. We had gone to spray pesticides in the orchard. Ashiq went to take a bath in the stream while Zakir was at home,” Bhat said.
He said some hours after having lunch; there was a “crackdown”.
“They took Ashiq towards one side and Zakir was dragged and killed on the other,” Bhat said, adding that Zakir wasn’t a militant. “If anyone would say that he was a militant we would agree that we are wrong.”
He said that if he (Bashir) would have been a militant then how would he be playing cricket in the area. “He would have a gun on him.”
However, Bhat also switched off his mobile phone while the locals refuse to talk.
In another viral video, three women relatives of Bashir are seen wailing and shouting, “He was innocent. If he would have been a gunman, he wouldn’t have been home.”
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police Friday morning said that “rumours” are being spread about the encounter.
“Rumours are being spread by vested interests that Zakir Naik, LeT terrorist killed in Chimmer on 30 June`21, wasn’t a terrorist. Fact: he had joined terrorist ranks just a few days before he was eliminated. Don’t believe in rumours. Legal action will be taken for spreading rumours,” the J&K Police tweet read.
Rumors are being spread by vested interests that Zakir Naik, LeT terrorist killed in Chimmer on 30 June`21, wasn't a terrorist. Fact: he had joined terrorist ranks just a few days before he was eliminated. Don't belive in rumors. Legal action will be taken for spreading rumors.
— District Police Kulgam: official (@policekulgam) July 1, 2021
Peoples Democratic Party President and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet said, “Encounters occur on a daily basis in J&K. But when legitimate questions are raised, the security forces must be held accountable. The parents of the 17-year-old minor killed in the Kulgam gunfight claim that he was an innocent civilian. GOI must come clean on these allegations.”