Moments after Jammu and Kashmir Police said three terrorists were encountered on the outskirts of Srinagar, the families of the shot"terrorists" claimed that they were innocent young people. One of the killed militants was the son of a police officer and another dead was a class 11 student. The encounter was jointly carried out by the police and the army.
In a statement, the police said all the three were terrorists but were not listed as terrorists in police records.
The police said in the statement, "Although the three killed terrorists in the encounter were not mentioned in our list of terrorists, yet two of them are hardcore associates of terrorists (OGWs).”
The term "OGW" or "over-ground worker" is used for any person police suspect to have links with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. The police claimed one of the dead was a relative of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Rayees Kachroo, who was killed in 2017.
Those dead in the encounter have been identified as Ajaz Maqbool Ganie and Ather Mushtaq, residents of Pulwama, and Zubair Lone, a resident of Shopian. Ajaz Maqbool Ganie is the son of a head constable posted in Ganderbal district, according to his relatives.
The encounter in Srinagar took place just four days after the police filed a charge sheet against an Army Captain and two others for killing three innocent men in Shopian and passed them as Pakistani terrorists in July.
After Wednesday's encounter, the police said they seized an attack rifle and two pistols. Dismissing families accusations, the police said the families had no idea about their children’s activities. "Generally, parents don't have an idea about the activities of their wards. Several OGWs after committing terror crimes like grenade throwing and pistol shooting stay normally with their family," the police statement said.
But the families said the men left home just a day before the encounter.
The families protested outside the police control room in Srinagar and said two of the three were students who had come to Srinagar for admission in an institution. "They were present at home till yesterday. How come they turned terrorists overnight and were killed in the encounter?" said a relative of one of the men.
The National Conference and the People's Democratic Party have demanded a probe.