The family of the slain Imtiyaz Ahmad Kakroo claim that he was arrested by the army and killed in a ‘fake encounter’.
SHAHGUND (BANDIPORA) — The family of the slain Shahgund boy, Imtiyaz Ahmad Kakroo, Monday contested the police claim saying that their “innocent son” was passed as a militant and killed in the Bandipora ‘encounter’.
Kakroo, 25, was killed in the wee hours on Monday morning at Gund Jehangir village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
As the news about his killing spread in Kakroo’s village, Baghat Mohalla, people thronged his house. Men narrated stories of the boy who loved playing football. Women wailed as it kept raining.
“Why did you kill him in a ‘fake encounter’. He was innocent,” his sister Afroza cried.
On Sunday Kashmir Police claimed to have solved the “killing conspiracy case” of Shahgund, Bandipora by busting a module and arresting four alleged Over Ground Workers (OGW) of The Resistance Front (TRF), allegedly involved in the killing of Muhammad Shafi Lone of Naidkhai.
“The arrested OGWs have been identified as Tariq Ahmad Dar, M Shafi Dar, Mudasir Hassan Lone and Bilal Ahmad Dar,” IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said in a media briefing. “One of the OGWs involved in the shooting Imtiyaz Ahmad Kakroo is absconding and has joined the militant ranks.”
On Monday morning, police claimed to have killed Imtiyaz Ahmad Kakroo “affiliated” with TRF. He was involved in a recent civilian killing at Shahgund Bandipora, the police said in a statement.
But the family members of Kakroo and his friends rebutted the police statement claiming that he was killed in a “fake encounter”.
Muhammad Zahid Malik, Senior Superintendent of Police, Bandipora, told Mountain Ink that the boy had picked up the gun and was involved in the recent killing.
Asked about the family’s claims that Kakroo was killed in a “fake encounter”, Malik said it was a “real encounter”. “We respond to fire with fire. He [Kakroo] fired at the forces and we retaliated, which resulted in his killing.”
In a statement released by The Resistance Front on October 5, the group claimed they had shot 26-year-old Mohammad Shafi Lone because he was an “informer”.
On the morning of October 5, Kakroo received a call from a local army camp who asked him to report at the camp, his sister Afroza said.
While Imtiyaz was getting ready to go to the army camp, Afroza said, an army vehicle stopped outside their house, barged in and arrested him. “Today we learned he was killed in the encounter,” a visibly shocked Afroza said.
Before getting into the army vehicle, Imtiyaz had promised his family that he would return home. The army had assured the family that Kakroo would be returned to the family after some investigation. “Neither he returned, nor was his body returned,” Afroza mourned.
She said that the family did not look for Kakroo after the army assurance. “Now the irony is the police and army claim he was killed in an encounter.”
Kakroo’s uncle, Feroz Ahmad, said that on the same day when Kakroo was arrested, police and the army raided their home and detained all the male members. “They are still in the police station. Although Kakroo has been killed, his family members are still behind the bars.”
Kakroo’s cousins and relatives said that he was killed in a nursery. “We will testify that he was dragged from his home and was killed after 5 days,” his cousin Ishfaq Ahmad Kakroo said.
“He was sitting with us when Muhammad Shafi Lone was killed. Government is spreading lies,” Saima, Kakroo’s sister in law said.
Following Kakroo’s killing, the villagers demanded an impartial investigation into the killing. The local sarpanchs and panchs, and Kakroo’s relatives approached the police station to demand his body but were denied.
“He was such a humble boy,” a local woman said. “The irony is that his family has been denied to perform his last rites.” A group of women who sang eulogies for the slain cried: “Oh Imtiyaz, you were innocent.”
Near the gunfight site, bullet marks were visible on the walls of an irrigation canal shed.
“Imtiyaz was everything for his family. He was not only a hope for his family, but the entire neighbourhood was proud of him,” said his neighbour Mudasir Ahmad.
PRO, Defence Lt Col Emron Mosavi said that he was not aware of the incident. “I will get the details and share them with you.” Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar, however, did not respond to calls from Mountain Ink.
(The story shall be updated as and when the officials make a comment.)