Two men gunned down by security forces in IIOJK, sparking outrage

Nov 17, 2021: Security forces shot dead two people along with a couple of freedom fighters in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in “cold blood”, a relative of one of the victims said on Tuesday.

According to police, two freedom fighters were martyred during an exchange of fire inside a shopping mall in Srinagar last night. Police added that Muhammad Altaf Bhat, the owner of the building, and Mudassir Ahmed, the tenant, were also killed in the “crossfire”.

While police had earlier claimed that Bhat was associated with the freedom fighters, his niece Saima Bhat said that her uncle and Ahmed were civilians who had been killed in “cold blood”. Saima, a journalist in Srinagar, said there was no shooting on the night her uncle was killed. “He was … taken as a human shield and when they did not find anything, he was killed on the spot,” he told a local newspaper, Kashmirwala.

IIOJK’s Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar had said that both Bhat and Ahmed were acting as “terrorist accomplices”.

A statement issued on Twitter late Monday quoted him as saying, “#Terrorists are hiding on the top floor of his building.” Eyewitnesses said troops and police cordoned off the area Monday evening, seizing dozens of phones from shopkeepers and passers-by.

Fearing police retaliation, an eyewitness told AFP on condition of anonymity that “they later took Muhammad Altaf inside the building for a search and Mudassar also went with the soldiers.”

Police did not return the bodies of Bhatt and Ahmed to their families, instead burying them in the middle of the night without relatives.

The People’s Democratic Party in IIOJK called for a “speedy investigation” into the killings. “At least the (police) can hand over the body to the family for proper burial. Are the dead now also a threat to peace?” The party wrote on Twitter.

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