Forces targeted local businessman, doctor during cordon and search operations in the capital city Srinagar
SRINAGAR, Nov 16, (Asia Free Press): Indian forces killed at least four civilians, including a businessman and doctor in the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday evening, locals said.
According to details, during cordon and search operation, the Indian forces stormed into a shop in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar city and killed a local businessman Altaf Ahmad Bhat while using him as a human-shield.
Bhat was running a cement shop at Hyderpora where Indian forces suddenly cordoned off the area and started firing on the house near his shop; his nephew told Asia Free Press (AFP).
“The troops dragged him from his shop and forcibly sent him into a building where local fighters were hiding, according to troops. When my uncle moved toward the house, the Indian army started firing and killed him on the spot,” Bhat nephew said. While later, three more young Kashmiri, including a doctor trying to help Bhat, were also shot down by the occupied forces.
Indian already banned local media in Kashmir from reporting the incidents and tortured journalists if anyone reported the killing of civilians.
Mohammad Altaf Bhat, who left behind two daughters and a son, have staged a protest at midnight near the Barzulla Bridge in Srinagar, demanding to return the body of their father, which has been taken into possession by the Jammu Kashmir Police.
The family also rejected the claims of local police and Indian forces, who labelled Bhat and the other three civilians as armed fighters.
“Our father was not a fighter but was a businessman. While there was no retaliation from within the building, we did not hear any gunshots being returned. All four civilians were killed mercilessly by the Indian army,” his children said during the protest.
Earlier, the local police claimed that forces killed four militants during the search operation.
“The house owner who was injured in the fire succumbed to his injuries. (Militants) have been hiding on the top floor of his building. As per source and digital evidence, he has been working as a (militant) associate. Search is still going on: IGP Kashmir,” a police spokesperson tweeted.
Local human rights activists strongly condemned the Indian forces latest move of civilian killings in extra-judicial killings and said Indian forces committing “war crimes”.
“All four people who killed by Indian forces last evening were innocent civilian including Altaf Ahmad Bhat, who was businessman, while Dr. Mudasir Gul was a dentist,” a local human rights activist told AFP, on condition of anonymity, as Indian forces arrest locals if anyone talks with media.
“Indian forces committing war crimes in Kashmir and world need to take its notice,” he added.
Fake encounters and Human-shields
Since 2016, fake encounters and the use of civilians as human shields have increased, and Indian forces employed such acts against the locals in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
In April 2017, Farooq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Budgam district, was tied to an army vehicle by Major Gogoi belonging to 53 Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army. Dar was driven through nearby villages for 28 hours.
Later, in a statement, Amnesty International described the act as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture.”
On July 18, 2020, three labourers were killed in a fake encounter at Amshipora of Shopian district. DNA profiling of the bodies, the samples of which matched with the three Rajouri families on September 25, proved that they were not armed fighters but were labourers who were earning a living in Amshipora and were killed in a fake encounter staged by Army captain Bhoopendra Singh alias Major Basheer. According to a dossier recently released by the foreign ministry of Pakistan.
The dossier was also handed over to the UN Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.
Aijaz Maqbool Ganie, Zubair Ahmad, a mason from Turkawangam of Shopian, and a student, Athar Mushtaq, from Pulwama’s Putrigam village were killed by the occupational forces belonging to Indian Army’s 02 Rashtriya Rifles, in a fake encounter in Lawaypora on the outskirts of Srinagar, on the intervening night of December 29 and December 30 2020.
According to the families, all the three had been murdered in a fake encounter.
Pakistan condemns killing of four Kashmiris
Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the extra-judicial killing of four more Kashmiris by Indian occupational forces in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).
According to the foreign ministry statement, at least 25 Kashmiris have been killed in fake encounters and so-called “cordon and search operations” by Indian occupation forces since October 1 2021.
“Extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions, daily harassments and restrictions on fundamental freedoms continue to be the norm in IIOJK,” said the foreign ministry spokesman.
“India must understand that no amount of systematic brutalities, rampant use of force and brutal clamp-downs can suppress the indigenous Kashmiri struggle. Kashmiris remain resolute in their just cause in the face of repulsive Indian state-terrorism.”
He added that Pakistan has shared with the international community a comprehensive dossier containing irrefutable evidence of Indian human rights violations and war crimes in IIOJK.
Islamabad called on the international community to hold India accountable for its gross and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in IIOJK.
“The Indian government must allow international human rights and humanitarian organizations and UN Special Mandate Holders unhindered access to IIOJK to conduct independent investigations and allow the people of the occupied territory to exercise their right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions,” it said.
So far, 133 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian forces during the cordon and search operation.
Last week, the Indian government deployed an additional 5,000 troops in the world most militarized region, where nearly 0.9 million troops are busy pressing the local freedom movement.
According to the Human rights groups, over 100,000 local Kashmiris have so far been killed by Indian forces since 1990.