Feature: J&K Police affidavit shows Army made contradictory claim on Hyderpora ‘encounter’ intelligence

Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: The controversy over the Hyderpora “encounter” refuses to die down, with an affidavit filed by Jammu and Kashmir police in the high court bringing to the fore the fact that the Army has made a contradictory claim on the intelligence input that led to the alleged gunfight. The veracity of security forces’ account of it has already been questioned by families of the deceased and political parties.

In a tweet posted through its official handle on November 15, 2021, Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps had claimed that the joint operation was carried out on intelligence inputs of J&K Police.

But the police affidavit, quoting a written report filed by the Army at the Sadder police station on November 15, 2021, states that it was Army’s 2nd Rashtriya Rifles (RR) that had received “reliable information” about the presence of militants in a building in the area.

“Brief facts of the case are that on 15-11-2021 police station Sadder received a written report along with seizure memo of arms /ammunition from 2 RR Army camp Zainkote Srinagar through HC Chain Singh No. 4485515F of said unit to the effect that today at 17:15 hrs Army 2 RR received reliable information about the presence of terrorists hiding in a building, jurisdiction of P/s Sadder and have planned for attack on security forces. Upon said information, 2 RR/ Valley QRT/PC Srinagar cordoned the area and started search operation to nab the terrorists. During the search operation, terrorists hiding in the building opened indiscriminate firing upon search party which was retaliated and in the ensuing encounter two terrorists were neutralized and two associates of terrorists were also killed,” reads the affidavit, a copy of which The Wire has.

The Wire has reached out to Army authorities in Srinagar for comments on the two different claims made about generation of intelligence inputs. This report will be updated when relevant officials comment on the matter.

When contacted, deputy inspector general of police, Central Kashmir, Sujit Kumar said that generation of input has nothing to do with the operation.

“The input also has nothing to do with my investigation. It hardly matters on whose input the operation was carried out,” he said.

Four persons were killed in the “gunfight” in Hyderpora area of Srinagar in November last year. All of them were buried in Wadder Payeen area of Handwara. Later, bodies of two deceased – Altaf Ahmad Bhat (owner of the building in which the shootout took place) and Dr Mudasir Gul (who was running call centre from the building) were handed over to their families for burial after exhumation. Following protests against the deaths, the administration of Jammu and Kashmir ordered a magisterial probe into the gunfight.

In the affidavit, police has also submitted that investigation carried out by its special investigation team (SIT) has proved or established that one ‘Bilal Bhai’ (also known as Hyder and Saqib), who is a resident of Pakistan, and Amir Latief Magrey of Seeripora tehsil were militants.

The police has also submitted that preliminary investigation suggests that role of Mudasir Gul cannot be ruled out, but added that that aspect is still under investigation.

It has also claimed that Mudasir was killed by the foreign terrorist.

The fourth person, Muhammad Altaf Bhat, who is the owner of the building, was killed in cross firing, the police affidavit says.

In the affidavit, police have submitted that handing over the body of Amir Magrey will send a wrong message and lead to law and order and security concerns.

“That the demand of dead body in the instant case is not demand of ordinary citizen who has been killed by the action of security forces but of the terrorist who has been killed during encounter. If by any reasoning the return of the dead body of terrorist is considered, it will send a wrong message in society and will lead to far greater consequences of law and order and security concerns. Thus at the very outset it is prayed before the Honourable Court for the larger concerns of the security, instant writ petition merits dismissal in limine,” reads the affidavit.

The affidavit further states that return of the body at this stage will jeopardise the rights of the people and create law and order problems.

“The apex court in its various verdicts has held that fundamental rights need to be balanced with other rights and in the case it is a matter of national security concern that would have adverse impact, hence need to be kept at paramount consideration,” it adds.

Police have also submitted that burial of militants away from their residences has proved result-oriented as incidents of law and order and joining of militant ranks by youth has declined as per intelligence inputs.

These submissions were made by police after the family of Amir Magrey approached J&K high court to seek his mortal remains for his burial at his native place. Courtesy The Wire