Srinagar: Police on Tuesday said that owner of the building (Hyderpora encounter site), Muhammad Altaf Bhat was used as human shield by the slain militant and the civilian had died in cross fire. Police said the investigations into the incident were still open.
This was stated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Jammu and Kashmir Police head DIG Sujit Kumar during a press conference. The SIT was tasked to probe the Hyderpora encounter in which four persons were killed on November 15.
Director General of Police, J&K, Dilbag Singh and IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar were also present during the media conference.
Sujit Kumar said that a zonal-level SIT constituted for Hyderpora operation established certain things – 2 pistols, 4 magazines, etc were seized from the initial site. “During site inspection, 2 bodies of terrorists and of the building owner were recovered at the building’s entry. The layout plan was made after site inspection,” Sujit Kumar said.
“The body of Dr Muddasir Gul was recovered in the hall upstairs. An eye-witness of an attack at a PA source in Srinagar identified the foreign terrorist behind the attack as one of the bodies in Hyderpora operation,” he said. “CCTV footage and other evidence show that building owner, Altaf Bhat was used as a human shield by foreign militant, Bilal Bhai, who was living in Dr Mudasir Gul's chamber along with the youth, Amir Magray.”
He said prima facie evidence shows that Dr Gul was shot dead by the foreign militant on the directions "possibly from across".
"Our investigation so far has revealed that Dr Mudasir Gul was killed by the foreign terrorist hiding inside the building as his body was recovered from the attic,” he said adding that the security forces did not go to the attic at all during searches or subsequent operation.
“Investigations have revealed that Amir Magray was closely associated with the foreign terrorist Bilal Bhai, who was killed in the operation while trying to flee,” DIG said adding that building owner, Muhammad Altaf Bhat and Amir Magray were killed in the crossfire with security forces. “ They were used as a human shield by the foreign terrorist. It is substantiated by the fact the Altaf fell outside the door, while Amir had managed to run few more steps and the foreign terrorist's body was found 83 feet away.”
Kumar said that besides examining the CCTV footage and call detail records, the SIT has also examined more than 20 witnesses so far. "Statements of six of these witnesses have been recorded before the magistrate as well," he said, adding that Bhat had volunteered to go inside as "he was very sure that there was no one hiding inside".
"At no point of time did any of them tell the security forces about the presence of the terrorist inside or seek any help, " he said adding that investigation was still going on and the team was open to reviewing its findings if any evidence, suggesting so, comes to light.
DIG Dilbag Singh said that recoveries made in the building like codeine bottles and winter apparel pointed to the existence of a hideout. “Investigations reveal that Amir was frequently visiting Bandipora,” he said. "Why would someone visit Bandipora so frequently when he (his family) had fled that place in 2008?."
Singh referred to statements of some protected witnesses in the case which lead to the conclusion that the building was used as a hideout by the terrorists.
"We found a dongle from the body of the foreign terrorist. The location of the device was at Jamalatta on 14th November where a firing incident took place," Singh said.
Asked if the police disclosure about the investigations could preempt the magisterial probe ordered by the Union Territory government, Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said the inquiry was already complete.