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The family of a civilian killed during a gunfight in Srinagar on Monday has refuted the police’s claims that he was associated with militants, The Kashmir Walla reported.

The man, Mohammad Altaf Bhat, ran a hardware shop near the site of the gunfight in the city’s Hyderpora area.

Bhat’s niece alleged that he was murdered by the police, The Kashmir Walla reported.

“He was used as a human shield in a staged encounter,” Saima Bhat alleged. “He runs a hardware shop and owns the complex where the forces had come for checking. There was no gunfight in that complex. He was taken three times as human shield for checking and when they couldn’t find anything, he was killed there.”

On Monday, the police and the security forces had launched an anti-militancy operation in Hyderpora, PTI reported.

In a tweet, the Kashmir Zone Police claimed that the militants had been hiding in a building belonging to Bhat.

“The house owner who was injured in terrorist fire, succumbed to his injuries,” the police said. “As per source and digital evidence, he has been working as [a] terror associate.”

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