The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, investigating the Haiderpora encounter, said on Tuesday that while a civilian was killed by a foreign terrorist, the owner of the building and a local militant were killed in a “crossfire” by a hidden human shield. On November 15, a Pakistani terrorist and three others were killed in Haiderpora, and police claimed that all of those killed had links to militancy. The families of the three, however, claimed they were innocent and that they were guilty of playing games, prompting police to order an investigation.
On Tuesday, the head of the SIT, DIG Sujit K, virtually gave a clean chit to the security forces but added that the party was open to reviewing its findings if any other evidence came to light. “So far our investigation has revealed that Dr Mudassir Gul was killed by a foreign terrorist hiding inside the building as his body was recovered from the attic. Says.
Elaborating on the investigation, Singh said the investigation revealed that Dr Gul’s employee Amir Magre was closely associated with the foreign terrorist ‘Bilal Bhai’, who was killed in the operation while trying to escape. “Mohammed Altaf Bhat (building owner) and Amir were killed in crossfire with security forces because they were used as human shields by foreign terrorists. And the body of a foreign terrorist was found 83 feet away, “he said. The officer said that in addition to examining CCTV footage and call detail records, the SIT has so far examined more than 20 witnesses. “The statements of six of these witnesses have been recorded before a magistrate,” he added. Asked why civilians were sent to search homes if there were reports of terrorists inside the security forces, the officer said Bhat was willing to go inside because “he was very sure no one was hiding inside.”
“At no time did any of them inform the security forces about the presence of terrorists inside or ask for any help,” he added. The SIT chief said the investigation was still ongoing and the team was open to reviewing its findings if any such evidence was suggested, if it was disclosed. Regarding Amir’s involvement, Singh said that recoveries from the building, such as bottles of codeine and winter clothing, indicated the existence of a secret hideout. “We have learned that Amir used to visit Bandipora often. When he (his family) fled from there in 2008, why would anyone visit Bandipora so often?” He asked. Singh cited statements from some security witnesses in the case who concluded that the building was used as a terrorist hideout.
“We found a dongle from the body of a foreign terrorist. The device was located in Jamalta on November 14 where a shooting took place,” he said. Asked if the release of the police probe could lead to the progress of the magisterial inquiry directed by the Union Territory government, Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said the investigation has already been completed.
“That investigation has been completed and the report has been submitted to the government four days ago. The government has directed the district magistrate to report to the concerned judicial magistrate,” he added. The families of Bhat, Gul and Magar claimed that they were innocent and protested demanding the return of their bodies. Several political parties in the state also increased support for the demand and the administration handed over the bodies of Bhat and Gul on 18 November.
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