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Monday's police shootout deaths in Srinagar questioned

Tuesday November 30, 2010 08:01:14 PM, IANS

Srinagar: Following claims that three men killed by police in Srinagar Monday were "innocent youth", the Jammu and Kashmir Police Tuesday said the trio was functioning as "a Jaish-e-Muhammad module" and was involved in the killing of two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in Pattan on Nov 10.

Ruling National Conference (NC) MP Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, in a hard-hitting statement, rejected the police claim about the Monday afternoon shootout in the Qamarwari locality and termed the "killing of the three youth" as "cold-blooded murder".

Shariq also demanded that "policemen involved in the firing should be arrested forthwith and a murder case registered against them for killing the innocent youth".

He said he would raise the issue with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah so that "the guilty are brought to book".

State Director General of Police Kuldeep Khuda, addressing a hurriedly convened media conference, said the three separatist guerrillas were working as "a Jaish-e-Muhammad module and were responsible for the killing of two CRPF troopers in Pattan area of (north Kashmir's) Baramulla district on Nov 10".

The DGP arrived here Tuesday afternoon to respond to the allegations, said the "module" was headed by Waseem Raja Guru, one of the killed guerrillas.

"Guru had received arms training in Pakistan in 1991 and had been later arrested in 2007 and released in 2008," he said. "Another militant, identified as Zahoor Ahmad Hajam, was a local trained militant and had been arrested by the security forces on Aug 23, 2004 in Bandipore," he added.

Khuda said the third guerrilla, Arshad Bashir, a first year student in a local college had "close links with various organizations".

Meanwhile, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti in a statement said that the Qamarwari shootout was "conducted in highly questionable circumstances".

"This is another attempt to tarnish the image of Kashmir", she said and pointed out that "even some of the leaders of the ruling party have raised questions over yesterday's so-called encounter in Srinagar city".






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