About a week back, an encounter in Hyderpora area of Srinagar got mired in a huge controversy as 2 civilians were killed during the incident.
One of the killed persons was the owner of the house where the encounter took place and another was the tenant, who, according to police, was helping terrorists in terms of logistics.
The police said the two got killed in firing by 2 terrorists hiding in the house when they were being taken to show the premises for a search.
The search was prompted by a tip-off that terrorists were hiding in the house, including one who had carried out an attack in Nawa Kadal area of downtown Srinagar city in which one policeman was injured.
The police said the owner of the premises Altaf Bhat and his tenant Dr Mudasir Gul were supporters of terrorists, who were killed in the gun battle. The killed terrorists included a Pakistani, according to the police.
The police said two pistols were recovered from the site and a call centre was found in the premises, which was being used for terrorist activities.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar said the call centre was being run by Mudasir.
“I am saying Altaf was killed in cross-firing. I am not saying whether he was killed by terrorists or in our firing. It is a matter of investigation as to whose bullet hit him during the encounter,” he told the media later as a controversy erupted.
“If (Altaf) was hit by a pistol bullet, it means terrorists killed him. But if he was hit by an AK rifle bullet, then we can say he was hit by our bullet,” Kumar added.
However, the police version got drowned in a huge propaganda by anti-national and pro-Pakistan elements and so-called ‘independent’ media outlets that Altaf and Mudasir were innocent and were killed by the security forces in “cold blood”.
Pro-separatist politicians also joined in raising the hype over it, obviously for political brownie points.
Various theories and conjectures were floated, seemingly in an orchestrated manner, to create a narrative against the police and security forces.
Such was the impact of the mischievous propaganda that even some sections outside Kashmir, including media, got carried away.
Nobody is highlighting the fact that terrorists were hiding in the house and for that the owner owed responsibility for it.
It needs to be emphasised that it’s totally believable that the terrorists hiding in the upper portion of the building would have opened fire on sensing trouble and instead of hitting the security men, they might have shot the house owner Altaf and the tenant.
Some Delhi-based media outlets have based their biased stories on the version of “eye witnesses”.
Interestingly, those “eye witnesses” were, by their own stated versions, nowhere close to the encounter site.
Rather, they have said that they saw the house owner being taken by security forces to his house for a search.
They know nothing about what happened subsequently. Despite the ignorance, they reportedly claim that Altaf and Mudasir were killed by security forces deliberately.
Can these assumptions or conjectures be taken as gospel truth?
Anyway, in Kashmir, it’s well-known that such so-called “eye witnesses” lie through their teeth and rumour-mongering is a good pastime.
One Delhi-based news portal has quoted Altaf’s family as claiming that the deceased could not have harboured terrorists because the house was located on the highway and that he would often have tea with CRPF personnel deployed in the area.
Even if it is accepted that Altaf used to mingle with the CRPF personnel, does it rule out him being a double-faced man, a dubious person?
Who knows, he might have been pretending to be friendly with security forces to create a clean image for himself and thus mask his anti-national activities, if any.
After all, there have been umpteen cases of “double agents” in Kashmir.
They may be described as “overground workers” (OWG), “terrorist sympathizers” or anything else but the ‘double agents’ have remained under a cloak even as they continue to cause huge damage to the country from within.
And whenever such double agents are targeted by the police and security forces, the so-called ‘human rights defenders’, helped by Pakistan and its proxies, raise a hue and cry in which the truth drowns.