BANIHAL: Refuting the Jammu and Kashmir police's claim that his son was a militant and was with a Pakistani terrorist when he was killed in Hyderpora encounter, Mohammad Latief Magray on Tuesday asked if this was the reward for being a nationalist and killing a militant with bare hands in his village over 15 years ago.
Magray, a resident of Gool tehsil in Ramban district and father of Mohammad Amir, appealed to Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to provide 'justice to his family' and also return the body of his son for proper burial.
According to police, Amir and his Pakistani accomplice were killed in an encounter along with two others in Hyderpora locality of Srinagar on Monday evening, where an illegal call centre and a terror hideout were allegedly being run.
A controversy erupted over the encounter following conflicting claims about the two deceased civilians -- Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul - as their family members contested the police's charge that they were "terror associates", prompting demands by parties like the PDP and the NC for an impartial probe.
Inspector-General of Police (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar maintained that Gul was an active associate of militants and was running the illegal call centre.
Altaf had given him the premises on rent.
Magray said it was very unfortunate that his son is being dubbed as a militant.
"My son was working with Altaf as an office boy for the last five months and was not a militant. After hearing about the news of his killing this morning, I along with some villagers visited Srinagar to bring back his body but was denied the same by police who claimed that he was a militant," he told reporters here.
"We are nationalists and I myself killed a militant with bare hands in 2005. My sister and I escaped death with multiple bullet injuries when terrorists attacked our house to take revenge and forced us to migrate to Udhampur district," he said and lamented, "Is this the reward for the sacrifice of my family?" After they returned to their village from Udhampur in 2011, the government set up a police picket for their protection in view of militant threats, he said, adding "the picket is still there".
According to locals, a militant Yasir Bhat of Gool was killed when Magray hit his head with a stone at his home in 2005.
Magray said he raised his son in very difficult circumstances and sent him to Deoband Islamic Seminary where he had memorised the holy Quran by heart.
He had also got his education in Islamic seminaries in Srinagar and Bandipora.
He appealed to the Lt Governor for an impartial probe into the incident to provide 'justice' to his family and return the body of his son for proper burial.