Mehbooba says if she knew it was Burhan, her forces would have given him a chance
“Some people lead the youths to security forces’ camps and disappear”
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 28: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday dropped a virtual bombshell by disclosing to media that her security forces would not have killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander and the State’s most wanted militant Burhan Wani if she knew that he was one among the three holed up militants in the July 8 gunfight at Bamdora, Kokernag, in Anantnag district.
While speaking to journalists at conclusion of PDP’s raising day ceremony near Sher-e-Kashmir Park, Mehbooba claimed that security forces had no knowledge about Burhan Wani being present inside the target house in Kokernag. “They knew that there were three militants holed up but they say that they didn’t know who they were”, Mehbooba sought to make it clear she was not aware of Burhan’s presence. Asked how the security forces would have acted if they knew that Burhan was holed up, she said: “Knowing that the situation (in Kashmir) was improving, I think security forces would have given him a chance”.
Chief Minister’s statement about Burhan came days after PDP’s senior leader and Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Baig questioned the procedural legality of the operation and emphasised that forces were bound by law and Supreme Court of India judgment to offer ample opportunities to the militant to come out and surrender. While alleging that the operation was part of “business” within J&K Police, Baig had claimed that Chief Minister had been kept in the dark with regard to Burhan’s presence at the hideout.
Mehbo0ba claimed at her interaction with the media that her Government did not have adequate time to put in place necessary restrictions so as to prevent clashes and casualties as she did not know that Burhan had been killed. “Omar Sahab had knowledge of Afzal Guru’s execution and enough time to put in place restrictions and curfew. We didn’t have”, Mehbooba asserted notwithstanding the fact that Burhan Wani’s death became international news at 6.00 pm on July 8 and the clashed occurred on July 9 and onwards.
Chief Minister also said that the clashes and casualties arising out of Burhan Wani’s death in the encounter were “unfortunate” as Police and security forces had been attacked by violent crowds at many places across the Valley. She said that her Police and forces were observing maximum possible restraint.
Suggesting interplay of some political parties and other forces who, according to her were adding to intensity of the turbulence, Mehbooba said that “some people” were encouraging the youths to gather and leading them to the camps of security forces. “We don’t know who these people are who lead the youths to the camps and disappear themselves”, she said.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]