J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha promises ‘appropriate answer’ at ‘appropriate time’ on the Lawaypora ‘encounter’

Published : January 08, 2021 14:44 IST

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha addressing the media in Jammu on January 7. Photo: HANDOUT/PTI

Days after “ReturnTheBodies” campaign gathered steam on social media, Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, broke his silence on the alleged fake encounter in Lawaypora, Srinagar, on December 30 and gave an assurance that the questions surrounding the killing would be addressed at the “appropriate time”. He did not rule out a probe in the matter, as has been demanded by the families of the three slain youths and the leadership of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

“All the facts have come before me (claims made by the security forces as well as the concerns expressed by the kin of the deceased). I am looking into the matter and on time you will get the appropriate answer,” Manoj Sinha told the media in Srinagar on January 7.

On the question of a probe, he said, “I want to make clear with all responsibility that if there is any suspicion, we will definitely hold a probe. However, J&K is a sensitive place. We have to strike a fine balance between the two without compromising the morale of the security forces. We have to keep in mind every aspect.”

Aijaz Maqbool Ganie from Putrigam in Pulwama, Zubair Lone from Turkwangan near Shopian, and Ather Mushtaq Wani from the Belov village near Pulwama were killed in an 'encounter' in Lawaypora in Srinagar on December 30. The Jammu & Kashmir Police has stated that the three were recruits of The Resistance Front, which the bereaved families do not agree with. The encounter, which involved the Army’s 2 Rashtriya Rifles, came barely three days after a revelation by the police that last year’s Amshipora encounter in Shopian was staged.

Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have demanded a thorough inquiry into the matter to assuage the feelings of the families of the deceased. Mehnooba Mufti recently wrote to the Governor: “Questions are also looming over this encounter and there are conflicting versions and reports from police and the Army. Justice can be served only if it is swift and I request you to initiate an impartial investigation into the matter.”

Omar Abdullah said on Twitter: “It is very important that the probe into this encounter be concluded at the earliest. Only a fair and transparent probe, already promised by LG Manoj Sinha will satisfy the families who lost their loved ones and who they insist were innocent.”

The police, in multiple tweets posted recently, stated that the militants were given a chance to surrender but they refused. They released videos purportedly of the house where the three alleged militants were holding up and claimed that they were repeatedly asked to surrender.