The father of a teenager from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, who was gunned down in an alleged staged encounter in December, has been booked by Jammu and Kashmir Police under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, The Kashmir Walla reported on Sunday.
The police said that Mushtaq Wani and seven other Pulwama residents were accused of “organising illegal processions under criminal conspiracy”. Wani is the father of 16-year-old Athar Mushtaq who was killed along with two others in an alleged encounter in Srinagar’s Lawaypora on December 30.
Besides the father, the FIR also names Athar Mushtaq’s two uncles, Mohammad Shafi Wani and Mohammad Hussain Wani.
The first information report was filed at the Rajpora police station in Pulwama. The police have invoked sections 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code, an unidentified official told the newspaper. They were also charged under Section 13 of the UAPA, which pertains to “advocating, abetting, advising or inciting the commission of, any unlawful activity”.
Wani and other relatives of the teenager have alleged that the trio was killed by the military in a fake gun battle on December 30. The police have denied this, claiming that all three had links to militants. Though the men were not listed in the police’s database of active militants, the police said two of them were “hardcore associates of terrorists (OGWs)”. OGW or Over Ground Workers is the term used for non-combatant members of militant groups who are usually given the task of arranging logistical support.
The families of the three have been holding protests and demanding the return of the bodies. An unidentified police official said Wani had taken out a rally on February 5 from a local mosque after the Friday prayers to demand the mortal remains of his son, reported The Wire.
Another official told The Kashmirwallah that the Rajpora police station received information “through reliable sources” that after offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid Abu Bakr in Bellow village, “a violent mob appeared near the mosque”.
“The mob was led by seven people to obstruct the main road and were raising anti-national slogans against the integrity of the nation,” the official added. “The said persons are organizing such illegal processions under criminal conspiracy and are abetting anti-national elements.”
Wani, however, has denied the police’s version.
“After Friday prayers, we noticed the deputy superintendent of police was outside [the mosque],” he told The Print. “We were just a few people there and I raised slogans demanding the body of my slain son. I thought the DSP will hear my plea and maybe would brief his seniors that I am continuing with my demand.”
The father said that later on, the cleric of the mosque was summoned at the police station along with some other residents. “He was detained there and the elders were informed that eight more individuals have been booked including me and my two brothers,” he added.
Wani alleged that he was being threatened by the police to “shut my mouth”. “The police told me to stop talking to the media and to forget whatever has happened,” he told The Kashmir Walla.