On December 30 evening, in a grave far away from his home in Pulwama, Mushtaq Ahmad buried his 16-year-old son. He had dug up another grave in his native village, but the government refused to hand over the body, as part of its policy regarding alleged militants. On Monday, a crying Mushtaq demanded that Athar’s body be given to him. “I have already died… Give me my child or bury me there (with him),” he said.
Athar was among the three youths killed in an alleged encounter in Srinagar in the intervening night of December 29 and 30, in an operation based on Army inputs and later joined by the police and CRPF. The Army said they were responding to information regarding a planned attack. The forces said the three were overground militant workers, though they didn’t figure in any official list of terrorists, and that they were repeatedly given a chance to surrender, but kept firing. All the three were buried together.
However, the families have claimed the youths, including the son of a Head Constable and the brother of two police officials, were innocent and killed in a staged gunfight. The police have assured a probe in the matter. While Athar and Ajaz Ahmad, the son of a Head Constable, were both from Pulwama and knew each other, it is not known if they were acquainted with the third youth killed, Zubair Ahmad, belonging to Shopian. Ajaz’s father Mohammad Maqbool said, “We can’t trust them (the security forces).”
On Monday, the J&K Police…