Kept Me Waiting for Body: Son of Civilian Killed in J&K Encounter
“I begged them to let me take my mother’s body with me, but they did not allow,” claims Aqib Riyaz on J&K police.
In the early hours of Thursday, 17 September, an encounter ensued between security forces and militants in Batamaloo area of Srinagar, resulting in the death of three militants and a civilian, 45-year-old Kousar Riyaz Sofi.
Allegations By Riyaz’s Family
Aqib Riyaz, the 25-year-old son of Kousar Riyaz told The Quint that the police had kept them waiting for the body, and asked them not to hold any protests.
“My mother was shot on her head while we were turning back our car, the army opened fire at us six times and one bullet hit my mother,” he claims.
“Like every day at 4:00 am, my mother and I were leaving for our bakery shop in Baranpathar area of Batamaloo. It’s just 2-3 km away from our new house, we weren’t aware that security forces were carrying out an operation, they should have warned us,” Aqib Riyaz told The Quint.
As soon as Kousar Riyaz was shot, the police officials took her body to the Batamaloo station. Aqib Riyaz says he was asked to come down to the station.
“They kept me at the police station, I begged them to let me take my mother’s body with me, but they did not, they kept my mother’s body till 6:30 pm,” claims Aqib Riyaz.
The Official Statement By The Police
According to the J&K police statement, Kousar Riyaz Sofi died in the wake of “indiscriminate firing by terrorists,” The Wire reported.
In the press briefing post the encounter of three militants, the J&K DGP Dilbag Singh termed Kousar Riyaz Sofi’s killing as “unfortunate”, DGP Dilbagh Singh expressed his sympathies with the bereaved family.
Meanwhile, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal told The Kashmir Walla “we have given the statement already. My IG (Inspector-General of Police) and DG (Director-General of Police) have already spoken, now I have no mandate to speak on this operation.”
Soon after the news of Kousar Riyaz Sofi’s killing spread, protesters thronged the streets of Batamaloo, the angry residents clashed with the forces. The roads of Batamaloo area was smeared with brick marks and covered with stones.
What Happened During The Encounter?
Acting on a credible intelligence input regarding the presence of three militants in Firdousabad, Batmaloo and Srinagar, J&K police jointly launched a cordon and search operation at 3:00 am on Thursday morning.
As per the police, the militants were holed up in a house, the CRPF soldier had to scale the wall and enter the house from the back. One of the militants hiding inside opened fire on the party when the Deputy Commandant was shot in his upper chest and abdomen.
The injured officer was immediately evacuated to the army hospital in Srinagar.
The joint room intervention teams of the CRPF and JKP resumed their operation and in the ensuing exchange of fire, three militants were killed by the joint forces.
(With inputs from Kashmir Walla and The Wire)
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