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Hokersar ‘encounter’: Police issue statement contesting family version

Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday refuted the family version regarding the Hokersar gunfight, saying that one among the three slain youth didn’t turn up at the university to fill up a form, as claimed by his family.

In a statement , a police spokesman said that the gunfight started following inputs by the army. “…encounter started with army inputs and eventually fructified into a joint operation of Army, CRPF and Police.”

He said the militants lobbed a grenade from inside [the building] and fired upon the search party after the cordon was laid. As per the Standard Operating Procedure, he said, the militants were repeatedly appealed by the troops to surrender in the evening and again in the morning.

“However, instead of surrendering, they fired upon troops and eventually got neutralised in the fire-fight,” said the spokesman.

Regarding the claims by the parents that Aijaz Maqbool Ganai – one of the slain trio – went to the University to fill up a form, the spokesman said that it was verified and cross-checked through the modern techniques including records of the telecom department.

“Contrary to the claims, the verified digital evidence revealed and corroborated that Aijaz and Ather had gone to Hyderpora and from there to the place of occurrence [Lawaypora] only,” he said.

Similarly, the spokesman added, Zubair -another slain youth – had gone first to Pulwama, then Anantnag, then Shopian to Pulwama and finally came to the place of the occurrence.

He said that background checks also revealed that Aijaz and Ather Mushtaq [third slain youth] — both overground workers — variously provided logistic support to militants. The spokesman further claimed that antecedents and verifications too showed that both were radically inclined and had aided militants of LeT (“now so-called TRF”) outfit.

“One of OGWs presently under police custody has also corroborated Aijaz’s association with LeT militant Faisal Mustaq Baba who was killed in Meej (Pampore) encounter in June last year,” added the spokesman.

“Ather was a relative and OGW of HM top commander Rayees Kachroo who got killed in year 2017.”

The spokesman said that police are nevertheless investigating the case from all possible angles.