Lawaypora Incident | Families stage protest, demand bodies and fair probe

Amid heavy snowfall and chill, families of the three youth killed in Lawaypora area of Srinagar, along with local activists and people on Monday staged a protest demonstration at Press Enclave here demanding a fair investigation and bodies of the slain who have been buried by police in Sonamarg.

One of the relatives of the slain youth said: “We want justice, we have been oppressed. Our sons were innocent, return their bodies.”

“They have snatched everything from me. I have nothing left with me now. Kill me in an encounter also and bury me along with them. I want justice, not money,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, the father of 16-year-old Athar Mushtaq Wani who was one of those killed by security forces at Lawaypora Srinagar.

“I want to tell the people of every country that I want justice, I want my son. He was just a 16-year-old kid. I have died already. Those people have killed my son and are feeding their children. This is a shame. The soldiers will get more rewards and would be applauded by their mothers and sisters as brave sons,” Mushtaq said as protestors including the kin of the slain trio and a social activist shouted slogans for justice.

The three killed on December 31 at Lawaypora were identified as 24-year-old Ajaz Maqbool Ganai from Putrigam Pulwama, 22-year-old Zubair Ahmad Lone from Turkawangam Shopian and 16-year old Athar Mushtaq Wani from Bellow, Pulwama. Police have claimed that the trio were militants despite no case registered against them even the families have constantly rejected the claim.

“Bodies are properties of families as clearly mentioned in international and human rights laws. Why are they afraid of handing over the dead bodies to the families,” Angad Singh, a social activist from South Kashmir asked.

Angad Singh said that the army soldier is no angel and he can also make mistakes. “We have seen what has happened with three youth from Rajouri in (Amshipora) Shopian. You are media men, it was exposed later. If they were involved in militancy, there is no harm in proving that to us. It is not the case that you will become the court, judge and jury,” he said.

“How can a teenager who had no case registered against him with police during his life span of 16 years become a hardcore over-ground worker within an hour. If there is democracy, they have to answer. Giving a tag of OGW to anyone is not justified. Prove the allegations. I am not a politician. I am a social activist and I have come forward in support of these families,” he added.

“They now say that Athar’s cousin was killed four years ago being a member of some armed group. How can it be justified to link Athar with him? There might be many (former) MLAs and ministers whose brother, father or cousins were militants. If this is any justification, kill them also,” he further said.

The wailing family members, both elderly men and women who had made their way to Srinagar from south Kashmir braving chilly weather appealed to the Lieutenant Governor and the authorities to conduct a fair investigation and sought the bodies of their sons.