Conflicts & War

Civilian deaths in alleged staged shootout spark outrage in Kashmir

By Sarwar Kashani

Srinagar, India, Nov 17 (EFE).- A group of people held a demonstration in troubled India-administered Kashmir Wednesday, contesting government claims that three of the four men killed in an alleged gunfight earlier this week were Islamist militants or their associates.

The Indian Army and police claimed that they busted an illegal call center and killed four militants and associates during a shootout Monday in the upscale Hyderpora neighborhood of Srinagar, the capital of the disputed Himalayan region.

Police said the call center provided “logistic support to active terrorists” from a private building, just 5 kms (3 miles) from the high-security Srinagar airport area.

The building owner, Altaf Bhat, 48, and his tenant Mudasir Gul, 40, were called to accompany the search party when militants opened fire at security forces, a police statement said.

“(They) received critical gunshot injuries and succumbed to their injuries. Two terrorists hiding in the room were eliminated,” police claimed.

The police said the slain militants included an unnamed Pakistani national and his Kashmiri associate Aamir Magray.

Police also claimed that Dar and Gul, a dental surgeon and real estate dealer, were “overground workers,” a euphemism for militant sympathizers and supporters.

The security forces refused to hand over the bodies to the families, “keeping in view the law and order scenario.”

They buried the bodies at an undisclosed location in north Kashmir.

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