Hyderpora Encounter: Families of Slain Civilians On Protest In Partap Park

SRINAGAR: Families of two civilians, Mohammad Altaf Bhat and dentist Mudasir Gul, who were killed in an encounter at Hyderpora on November 15, are on a sit-in protest since morning. They are still at Partap Park and are waiting for the assurances that the bodies of their members will be returned for a decent burial.

Family and relatives of businessman, Mohammad Altaf Dar on a protest in Srinagar’s Press Enclave seeking the return of his corpse buried in deep north Kashmir. Altaf was killed in the shop line that also owns on November 15, 2021, at Hyderpora. KL Image Bilal

The two families – one each from Barzulla and Rawalpora, reached the Press Enclave early Wednesday morning and sat on a protest. Apart from offering details of the encounter, they had collected; they said their only demand is that bodies of their kins be restored to them for decent burial in their respective graveyards.

“Unfortunately, I am the Lumberdar of my area and the police is always in touch with me,” Abdul Majeed Bhat, elder brother of slain shopping complex owner, Mohammad Altaf said. “Never ever did they give me an inkling about anything? They knew us all and they also knew that we have been verifying the antecedents of the people whom we rent our premises.”

Bhat said that they had closed the premises after the incident and the police had come later and broken in. “We do not know what they did,” he said.

Humaira, the widow of dentist Mudasir Gul, a real estate company owner, with her minor daughter on a protest seeking his dead body. Dr Gul was killed in Hyderpora on November 15, 2021, in his office.

The family had met the civil administration and the police. They said the officials regretted the killing and admitted Bhat’s innocence but were not ready to return the body. Dentist Mudasir Gul’s family has also met the concerned officials in police and civil administration.

Gul, a trained dentist, was running a real estate firm that was also building new houses. Humaira, his wife almost collapsed in the protest while seeking proof from police that Gul was an OGW. “If they show us any evidence that he was a militant, I will offer myself for the punishment,” Humaira said. “He was innocent. Let them offer a bit of evidence to justify their allegation.”

Kashmir Police Chief, Vijay Kumar told the media on Tuesday that a Pakistani militant and his local associate Mohammad Amir, along with two civilians — Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul — were killed in the encounter. He said they are investigating an “unauthorised call centre” and a militant hideout that was running from the premises. Police buried all the four dead bodies in Rajwar belt of Handwara and no family member was even told to be part of the last rites.

The controversial encounter has come under sharp criticism from all sides and from all political parties. The only exception is the BJP. General demand from all sides is a time-bound judicial investigation.

The two families are sitting on protest in Partap Park and continued till late in the evening. Around evening, they were joined by NC’s Salman Sagar and many others. The two families did a candlelight protest as well. During the day, there were rumours that some politicians might be joining the protest but it did not happen.

“On her return from Jammu PDP President @MehboobaMufti was on way to press colony to console with the family & participate in the protest, but police blocked the route & did not allow her to move towards protest site. Is demanding the dead body of civilians a crime now?” PDP tweeted.

The families said their protest has the sole motive of getting back the bodies for a decent burial. They said they would stay put till they get assurance from the gubernatorial regime. As this report is being filed, they are shivering in cold but staying on protest.

In Jammu, reports said, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti held a symbolic protest against the alleged killing of civilians.

“I am protesting because this government kills civilians in the name of militancy. Nobody knows if militants are being killed. Three civilians have been killed recently. The government refuses to hand over their dead bodies to the families despite the latter’s demand,” Mufti was quoted as having told the media outside her office.

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