Srinagar, July 14 (IANS) Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, a senior PDP leader and MP, on Thursday alleged that security forces did not give Hizbul commander Burhan Wani and his two aides a chance to surrender before killing them.
Beigh also told IANS that the police and the army had not informed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about the July 8 operation in advance that would have allowed the state government to make “contingency plans” and prevent the subsequent widespread violence that left “nearly 40 people dead”.
“Obviously, the Supreme Court guidelines about the standard operation procedure (SOP) on how to carry” a counter-insurgency operation even when the armed forces have special powers under the controversial AFSPA were not followed.
“It is a serious offence and I have asked the Chief Minister to appoint a high-powered committee that will examine the circumstances in which Burhan Wani was killed,” Beigh told IANS.
Beigh, a known legal luminary, explained that the police and army have claimed that the operation in a south Kashmir village where Wani was killed ended in three-and-a-half minutes.
“All SOPs could not have been followed in such a short time,” the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
“The Supreme Court has laid down the guidelines that forces have to take a magistrate along and ask militants to surrender first before using non-lethal force to flush them out.
“Firing is the last resort and that too on limbs. All this takes time and in this case, procedures were not followed.”
He also expressed doubts if Wani and his associates had opened fire at security forces and said gunning down a militant in a shootout “is different than killing a militant without giving an opportunity to surrender”.
He said Mehbooba Mufti would have “definitely made prior arrangements to control” a possible outcry over the killing of Wani given the fact “that there no FIR was reportedly registered against the poster boy militant commander”.
Beigh said obviously there would have been “serious consequences” in the aftermath of Wani’s killing and the Chief Minister would have ensured “minimum collateral damage in accordance with the law”.
Asked if he had spoken to Mehbooba Mufti about his doubts, the Harvard-educated lawyer said: “Yes. And she has ensured that a probe will be ordered.”
Beigh also condemned the use of pellet guns and excessive force against angry protesters across the Kashmir Valley which has also left more than 1,500 people injured, many seriously.