J&K police cite ‘evidence’ to claim killed Lawaypora youth were over ground workers for terrorists

As questions swirl around the Lawaypora encounter, in which three youths were killed on Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir police said on Friday that all angles were being investigated while reiterating that the killed youths were over ground workers (OGWs) for terrorists.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, police said that the youths were given a chance to surrender. “Lawaypora Srinagar encounter started with army inputs and eventually fructified into a joint operation of army, CRPF and the police. After the cordon was laid, terrorists lobbed grenades from inside and fired upon the search party. Although as per (the) SOP, terrorists were repeatedly appealed (to) by the troops to surrender in the evening and again in the morning. However, instead of surrendering, they fired upon troops and eventually got neutralised in a firefight.”

The police spokesman said that the claims, made by the parents that Aijaz Maqbool Ganai had gone to the university to fill up a form on the day the encounter began, was found to be untrue after verification and cross checking using modern techniques, including studying the records stored by the telecom department.

“Contrary to the claims, the verified digital evidence revealed and corroborated that Aijaz and Ather had gone to Hyderpora and from there to the place of occurrence (encounter) only. Similarly, Zubair had gone first to Pulwama, then to Anantnag, then Shopian to Pulwama and finally came to (the) place of occurrence.”

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The spokesman said that background checks also reveal that Aijaz and Ather Mustaq, both OGWs (over ground workers) variously provided logistic support to terrorists.

“Antecedents and verifications too show that both were radically inclined and had aided terrorists of the LeT (now so-called TRF) outfit. One of the OGWs, presently under police custody, has also corroborated Aijaz’s association with LeT terrorist Faisal Mustaq Baba, who was killed in Meej (Pampore) encounter in June last year. Pertinently, Ather was a relative and OGW of HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) top commander Rayees Kachroo, who got killed in 2017.

Nevertheless, (the) police are investigating into the case from all possible angles,” the spokesperson said.

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