Shopian gunfight: Family, locals reject police claim, maintain Shahid was civilian

Umer Rashid

Srinagar, Nov 4: Locals on Sunday rejected police claims regarding civilian Shahid Manzoor Mir, one of the two persons killed during an encounter in Khudpora, Gagran area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The other slain has been identified as Irfan Ahmad Bhat son of Ali Mohammad of Bandzoo Pulwama at present Gund Haadu, Memendar, Shopian.
In a statement, police have not convincingly stated whether Shahid is a civilian or a militant or an OGW even as it has alluded his involvement in a militant-related case registered way back in 2014.
Nothing is forthcoming from the statement as regards the fate of the FIR registered 14-years back as it is silent whether it culminated into charge sheet against Shahid or any other person who might have been involved in the case.
The statement is also silent whether the case has been closed as untraced or there has been acquittals or conviction of any person.
The police statement is baseless as Shahid was civilian and police are deliberately trying to implicate him in a non-existent case. Where was the police in last 14-years and why is it that when the civilian was killed that reference has been made to the case which according to police registered 14-years ago,” the family and the locals said and rejected the police reference.
The family said that he was working as a contractor dealing with shattering of houses and other buildings. The slain civilian is survived by a wife and one-year-old child besides aged parents.
Meanwhile, both the slain were laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans and thousands of people attended their funeral at their respective native villages.
In a statement issued here, the police spokesman said: “Police and security forces in Khudpora area of District Shopian, launched a cordon and search operation yesterday evening based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area”.
As the search operation was going on, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter, he said.
“Meanwhile following the SOP, civilians from the nearby area were evacuated to safer places. In the ensuing encounter, hiding militants fired on security forces. Consequently, post-encounter during the search two bodies were recovered from the site of the encounter,” the spokesman said.
The killed militant has been identified as Mohd Irfan Bhat of Pulwama who was associated with HM terror outfit since June 2017. The other one was identified as Shahid Mir who as per the police records was part of case FIR 201/2004 under section 7/25 Arms Act of police station Shopian for the militant-related incident, he said.
A couple of militants managed to escape from the site as blood trails have been seen at the site, he said.
Moreover, the house where the encounter took place is intact albeit a hideout was found inside the house where militants were hiding, he said.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter for ascertaining the facts pertaining to militants hiding in the said house and other related matters to this incident,” he said.
Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any, the spokesman added. (GNS)

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