by Saifullah Bashir
SRINAGAR: The enquiry in the controversial Hyderpora killings is still not complete even though the first deadline is already over. The families are desperate for justice.
On November 18 2021, Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha ordered the magisterial probe of the controversial Hyderpora encounter in which four people were killed including a “foreign militant”.
“A magisterial inquiry by an officer of ADM rank has been ordered in the Hyderpora encounter,” LG announced on twitter. “The Government will take suitable action as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner. JK admin reiterates commitment to protecting lives of innocent civilians.”
Later, a formal order by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar assigned the job to Additional District Magistrate, Khurshid Ahmad Shah (KAS), who was supposed to submit his findings within a fortnight.
“We have high hopes but we do not know anything about the status of the inquiry, yet,” said Saima Bhat, niece of slain businessman, Altaf Bhat. “We are waiting for the inquiry report and we hope the LG will keep his promise.”
The Hyderpora encounter took place in the evening of November 15. Hours after the people knew the identities of the slain three, it triggered a serious crisis. In order to prevent the escalation of tensions, the authorities ordered the exhumation of the bodies of Altaf Bhat and Dr Mudasir Gull from a distant graveyard in Handwara, a government-designated burial site, specific for militants. They were re-buried in their ancestral graveyards later.
After the government announced a magisterial probe, Bhat’s family made their presentation before the designated officer. Though Bhat’s wife had been summoned to record her statement, it was the slain businessman’s brother who responded and recorded the statement, instead.
“When they summoned us we were all facing medical complications,” Ghulam Mohammad Rather, father of dentist, Dr Mudasir said. “Also, we were a bit confused about the date and after a few days when I reached the ADM’s office the doors were closed. I returned home empty-handed.”
The families are anxiously waiting for the report to come out. “After the report is out, we will see what further steps should be taken,” Saima Bhat said. “If inquiry fails to provide us justice, we will proceed to court. We cannot sit home.”
However, Rather said the magistrate has no facts with him because his family is yet to record the statement. He said he has no idea if the enquiry officer has issued a fresh summon for recording the statement.
Despite repeated calls, the magistrate investigating the case could not offer any detail. This report will be updated when they respond.
At the same time, however, the Hyderpora encounter case is being probed by police as well. A DIG rank officer is investigating the case. “SIT is investigating the matter,” the top police officer investigating the case said. “Proof and evidence are coming, shall be shared with the government and the court.”