The video of a young Kashmiri girl weeping over her father’s killing during a security operation on Monday in Jammu and Kashmir has been widely circulated on social media.
Mohammad Altaf Bhat, a businessman, was among four dead in an anti-terror operation at a commercial complex in Srinagar. According to the police, a Pakistani terrorist and his associate were killed by the forces.
The police first said Altaf Bhat and another businessman were shot by terrorists but later said they may have been killed in the crossfire.
Later, the cops said Altaf Bhat, who owned the complex, would be counted as a “harbourer of terrorists” as he did not inform the authorities about his tenants. One of those tenants was a terrorist, said the police.
In a widely-shared video, Bhat’s 13 -year-old daughter tearfully describes the moment she learnt about his death.
“My chachu (uncle) got a call around 10 am and he started crying…I was at home…and I heard sounds of shouting and screaming…I ran away. I was praying to Allah,” she says, breaking down.
“My cousin- who is a witness- told me that my father was picked up thrice – twice he was released. And the third time he was killed. What is the meaning of this? Other witnesses were also killed – what is this?”
She grows more and more distraught as she shares: “I tell them – uncle how can you think my father is this…They laugh at me – what response can I give them? They were laughing…They were shamelessly laughing at me. What could I say to them?”
She also speaks about the son of the second businessman killed that day. “My brother is in his class. He is very young. What do we tell him? He is very close to his father. I am attached to my father. Now what will I do? How do I take care of my mother? She is not eating. She is crying. What do I do?”
Political leaders including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti have raised questions over the encounter in Srinagar.
The families allege that both businessmen were killed in cold blood by security forces. They claim the police refused to hand over their bodies citing law and order problems.
An anti-terrorism crusader says his son was among those killed, and that he was branded a terrorist.
Abdul Latief Magray killed a terrorist with a stone in Ramban in 2005. He says his son Amir was innocent and was a labourer. The police, however, allege that Amir Magray was a “hybrid” terrorist.