Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday said that two militants were killed in a brief shootout in Shopian village in the wee hours on Monday.
However the locals and family refuted police statement, claiming that the deceased were not militants neither Over Ground Workers (OGW) of any militant organisation.
Police has claimed that one militant identified as Firdous Ahmad Bhat and his active associate Sajad Ahmad were killed in a brief shoot out when they were travelling on Shopian Turkawangom Road at Mool Chitragam.
Gulzar Ahmad, brother of the Firdous said his brother was running a Madrassa.
“He was regularly harassed by police and army since last five years who accused him of giving provocative speeches. He used to be on run since a year now,” Gulzar said.
“On April 5 this year forces again raided our village to arrest him but people resisted pelted stones on them. And he evaded the arrest.since then he was not coming home. He used to call us at times. So we are not sure whether he had joined militancy or not. He further said he was picked up by forces several times after one of this colleagues in his madarsa who hailed from Fatehpora Dilalgam Anantnag joined Let to be killed later”.
Locals in Kulgam have refuted the police allegations saying neither of two was a militant or OGW.
They say that Bhat was running a Madarsa and was in Shopian to collect donations.
They further said he was picked up by forces several times after one of this colleagues in Darululoom from Fatehpora Dilalgam Anantnag joined LeT and was killed later.
In a statement, a police spokesperson said that during the preceding night, forces at a checkpoint on Shopian Turkawangom Road at Mool Chitragam intercepted a Tavera vehicle.
However the militants boarding the vehicle, he said, opened fire from inside on forces which was retaliated. “In the retaliation process, one militant identified as Firdous Ahmad Bhat and an active associate Sajad Ahmad who was driving the vehicle got killed. Both of them were the residents of Kulgam. Moreover, one militant taking advantage of darkness managed to flee from spot.”
According to police records, Firdous Bhat was a listed militant, the statement said.
Bodies of both the militants, the spokesperson said have been handed over to their legal heirs after completion of medico-legal formalities.
The statement said that incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the spot. “All these materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes.”
SSP Shopian said that Bhat was on run for almost a year as police was looking for him for he used to deliver provocative speeches. But, he said, Bhat joined Hizb formally in the month of April along with one more youth Irfan Ahmad who was also killed in Shopian last month.