Internet shut to nip backlash on Srinagar killings
The authorities on Thursday snapped Internet in parts of Srinagar after an impromptu shutdown and clashes with security personnel against the killing of three “militants” near the city centre on Wednesday evening.
Police have said they shot dead the three militants from The Resistance Front (TRF), including Mehran Yaseen, in a brief gunfight at the crowded Rambagh locality of Srinagar.
The killings triggered immediate protests with several eyewitnesses claiming that the three were slain in a “one-sided shootout”. Some claimed that the trio were innocent civilians.
The protests continued for the second day as Srinagar’s old city observed a shutdown against the killings. The move was seen as a rebuff to the administration, which claims militants do not enjoy popular support.
The police have said the trio had been involved in some of the recent killings of civilians, including a Hindu and a Sikh schoolteacher, in Srinagar.
A police spokesman said the three were travelling in a car that had been signalled to stop. “The militants did not stop and instead opened fire, which was retaliated, triggering an encounter,” the spokesman said.
Several eyewitnesses said the trio were dragged out of the car and shot in front of them.
Protests broke out in the old city against the killings, leading to clashes with the security forces. A large number of security personnel were deployed and they resorted to tear-gas shelling to quell the agitation.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti joined other protesters in questioning the police claim.
“After yesterday’s alleged encounter at Rambagh, legitimate doubts are looming over its authenticity. As per reports & witnesses, it seems that the firing was one-sided. Again the official version far from truth is not in line with ground realities as seen in Shopian, HMT & Hyderpora,” the PDP chief tweeted.
After yesterday’s alleged encounter at Rambagh legitimate doubts are looming over its authenticity. As per reports & witnesses it seems that the firing was one sided.Again the official version far from truth is not in line with ground realities as seen in Shopian, HMT & Hyderpora pic.twitter.com/S9O6TGSGRH— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 25, 2021
Three civilians were shot dead by the army in a fake gunfight in Shopian in 2019. The families of three men killed in the HMT locality of Srinagar last year had claimed that they were innocent, although the police had called them militants.
In Srinagar’s Hyderpora last week, two businessmen and an office assistant were killed in an allegedly staged encounter, sparking condemnation in the Valley.
Referring to the Rambagh shootout, National Conference spokesman Imran Nabi Dar said: “This is a serious allegation at a time when we are yet to get clarity from @JmuKmrPolice on the Hyderpora ‘encounter’. We have another shootout in the city centre with all the ingredients of murkiness.”
The two other alleged militants killed on Wednesday were identified as Arafat Ahmad Sheikh of Nikloora village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Manzoor Ahmad Mir of Babhar in Pulwama.