Human Shield: Two ultras, house owner killed in Hyderpora gunfight

Two Ultras, a Civilian killed in Hyderpora encounter

Civilian killed during the encounter was used as “Human Shield” by the forces, claims family

Two unidentified militants and a civilian were killed in an encounter between the ultras and security forces in the Hyderpora area of the city on Monday, officials said.

The encounter broke out near a hospital here when security forces launched an anti-militancy operation, a police official said. He said two militants were killed in the gun battle, while a civilian also lost his life.

The deceased civilian has been identified as a 44-year-old businessman, Mohammad Altaf Bhat, a resident of Old Barzulla locality. Bhat owned a hardware store and a cement dealership near the scene of the encounter, he said.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militants are being ascertained.

The operation is still going on, the police said. The gunfight took place after a joint team of the police and the Army personnel cordoned off the area and launched a search operation following receiving information about the presence of anti-national elements.

Meanwhile, The family members of a civilian, described by police in Jammu and Kashmir as a “militant associate” killed during an encounter with two “militants” on Monday night, alleged that he was used as a “human shield” by the forces.

Two militants and the civilian, a businessman identified as Mohammad Altaf Bhat, were killed during an operation in Hyderpora in Srinagar. Police said the militants had been hiding inside the shopping complex owned by the local businessman.

Bhat’s family members held a protest on Monday night, demanding the handover of his body for burial and accused the police of killing an innocent civilian during an operation.

“You killed my innocent uncle Mohammad Altaf Bhat in cold-blooded murder In Hyderpora, you used him as a human shield and now saying he was ‘OGW’. Return us his body @JmuKmrPolice @SrinagarPolice @IGP,” tweeted Saima Bhat, the businessman’s niece.

Locals said Bhat,48, is survived by his wife and two daughters. They also said he owned the shopping mall and was into cement and iron businesses.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded a speedy investigation into Bhat’s death.

“These allegations are grave and merit speedy investigation. Least@JmuKmrPolice could do is hand over the dead body to the family for a decent burial. Are even dead ones a threat to peace now?” the PDP tweeted.

On Monday night, Vijay Kumar, the inspector general of police (IGP) Kashmir, tweeted, “The house owner who was injured in the militant fire succumbed to injuries. Militants have been hiding on the top floor of his building. As per sources and digital evidence, he has been working as a militant associate.”

Police haven’t yet identified the two militants killed in the encounter. The police are in possession of all three bodies.

Earlier, on Sunday night, a policeman sustained injuries after suspected militants opened fire on a police team conducting raids in the Old City area of Srinagar. Police said the raids were being carried out on the basis of specific information about the presence of militants in Jamalata area of Nawakadal.

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