Even as the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered a magisterial probe into the Hyderpora encounter, politics intensified over the killing of two civilians, and two alleged terrorists including one Pakistani in the gun battle.
A day after Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti held a demonstration at Jammu, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday staged a protest along with local leaders of his party in support of the demand of the families to hand over bodies for last rites.
Peoples Conference also held a separate demonstration in Srinagar and demanded that their bodies be immediately handed over to their families for burial.
Led by senior party leaders, Peoples' Conference workers staged a protest against the civilian killings in the encounter and demanded justice for the families of civilians.
Denying dead bodies to families is inhuman: Omar
Expressing his anguish over the treatment meted out to families of the civilians killed in the encounter, Omar Abdullah demanded that bodies of civilians killed in the Hyderpora encounter should be exhumed in Handwara and handed over to their families for last rites. He, however, said that at this stage, he has nothing to do with the inquiry ordered by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
He said that Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha should reach out to these families, hear them in person and then give them the bodies of their loved ones. "It's the only right thing to do, it's the only humane thing to do", he said.
"I've rarely seen families who have been wronged conduct themselves with such dignity. They have been reasonable in their demands and dignified in their conduct. The result of this is visible for all to see as the police drag them away in the dead of night", Omar Abdullah tweeted during the protest.
Recalling an all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in June, Omar tweeted, "This is the Naya Kashmir of 2021. This is how the J&K police fulfill @PMOIndia promise to remove "Dil ki doori & Dilli se doori. It's outrageous that the J&K administration did not allow the families to conduct a peaceful sit-in protest".
PDP demands inquiry by NHRC or a sitting judge
Rejecting the magisterial inquiry announced by the J&K government, spokesman of PDP Anil Sethi said, "magistrate is far too below in bureaucratic hierarchy, susceptible to influence. The inquiry should be either by the National Human Rights Commission or a sitting judge of High Court", Sethi demand.
"Instead of handing over mortal remains of the innocent civilians, police has arrested the family members for demanding the bodies of their loved ones. Unbelievably ruthless & insensitive. The least they can do is return the mortal remains immediately," Mehbooba Mufti has earlier tweeted and claimed that she has been placed under house arrest.
"Again under house arrest. The pattern of using innocent civilians as human shields and then denying their families the right to a decent burial shows that the government of India has plumbed new depths of inhumanity," Mehbooba stated.
PAGD for a time-bound credible inquiry
The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Thursday said that demanded a time-bound credible inquiry into the incident
Addressing media persons after meeting in Srinagar, PAGD spokesman, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said they demanded a time-bound judicial probe into the incident.
He said that those involved in the incident should be dealt with as per the law. "We believe those involved irrespective of their position are law violators and deserve punishment", he said, adding, "PAGD leaders had decided to meet the victim families under the leadership of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and informed police about it, but were not allowed".