Lawaypora Encounter: Family says injured person is shopkeeper not militant

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Srinagar

The identity of a man injured in Lawaypora encounter on Wednesday became a subject of controversy as police claimed he was a militant, but his family denied the charge, reported The Print.

Army personnel near the site of an encounter in which two militants and a CRPF man have been killed in Lawaypora area of Srinagar outskirts on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Two militants and a CRPF constable were killed in an encounter on Wednesday after militants according to police fired at the joint naka of CRPF and police at Lawaypora.

“The injured man has been identified as Umar Fayaz. Police claimed Fayaz belonged to the lesser-known Jammu Kashmir Islamic State (JKIS). However, his family said he was just a shopkeeper,” said the report.

A statement issued by police in the evening didn’t name Fayaz, only saying that a “third militant” was injured in the gunbattle. It instead dwelt on the antecedents of the two militants killed, identified as Zia-u-Rehman Wani of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Khateeb Dass of Hizbul Mujahideen, it said.

But at a press conference earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh had identified the “third militant” as Umar Fayaz of JKIS. Singh said Fayaz was injured and taken to a local hospital.

Giving details of the gunbattle, the DGP said the “three militants” were travelling to Srinagar from Baramulla on a scooter when they were stopped at a checkpoint on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway near Lawaypora.

“They were stopped at the checkpoint, after which one of the militants started firing from his pistol, killing a CRPF trooper. A brief shootout then ensued in which two militants were killed on the spot and the third one was injured and shifted to a hospital where he is being treated,” said Singh.

CRPF special director general Zulfikar Hasan, who was also at the press conference, said one of the militants riding pillion opened fire even before the CRPF trooper said anything to them. “He immediately took his pistol out and shot the CRPF constable in the head,” Hasan added.

The trooper was identified as Ramesh Ranjan, who hailed from Bihar. He died on the spot.

Refuting police’s claim, The Print quoted Fayaz’s family as having said he was shot by CRPF outside his shop.

“I was at home and Umar was at his shop. He came inside my home bleeding. He had a bullet wound in the back and told us that he had been shot,” The Print quoted Hamida Bano, Fayaz’s aunt as saying. “My son, our neighbour and I took him to the hospital. We were even stopped at a checkpoint in Shaltang area for around half-an-hour. Umar would have succumbed in the car, but fortunately, we reached the hospital on time,” she added.

According to the report, Asif, Fayaz’s cousin, said their car was only allowed to pass after they convinced the Police and CRPF at the checkpoint that they were civilians.

“I had to show my Aadhaar card as proof,” The Print quoted Asif as having said.

Asked to comment on the claims made by Fayaz’s family, Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar was dismissive. “No family will say that their son is a militant,” The Print quoted Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar as saying.

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