NEW DELHI: Parties in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir have slammed a new surge of deaths in police custody and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on Monday called for a probe into several incidents of “cold blooded custodial killings”.
A statement by APHC chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed grave concern and anguish over “the cold blooded custodial killings of young boys”.
He said the victims were arrested and then killed in so-called “encounters with militants“, while in police custody.
Mirwaiz cited the example of Shahid Ahmad Tantray, a resident of Shirpora Kulgam. He was allegedly killed “during a gunfight with militants” while in police custody.
Tantray was arrested by police as a so called “hybrid militant”.
“With these killings, the situation has become sinister as the lives of these arrested young men are in grave danger while in custody.”
The APHC fervently appealed to “all conscientious people of India and outside, and rights organisations” to take note of these killings and raise their voice and asks for a probe by independent agencies.
Security officials say a key feature of the current anti-India campaign in India-held Jammu & Kashmir is its “hybrid” nature because of the dual life of the alleged militants. They have observed that many alleged resistance individuals operating in Kashmir since 2020 lead mostly “regular” lives, including being engaged in activities like studying or working for most of the day, until they slip out to carry out an assigned attack and then return to their normal routine.
Demanding an impartial probe into the Shopian killing, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the security situation has deteriorated in Kashmir. “In the name of hybrid militancy, Imran Ganie was arrested and then we are told that he was killed by militants while in custody of police. If militants can kill in police custody, how are common people going to be safe,” the Peoples Democratic Party president said.
Condemning the recent killing of migrant labourers by the alleged hybrid militants, she said: “There are allegations that it is the ‘catch-and-kill’ policy which was followed in Punjab where youngsters would get killed in police custody.
“We demand an impartial probe into the circumstances that led to Imran’s death. We have fears that as the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh come closer, the atmosphere in Kashmir would be vitiated so that the BJP can exploit the Hindu-Muslim game it has been playing even more,” she said.
The Kashmir unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also sought a probe into the deaths.
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2022