Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has cleared an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 4 lakh for the next kin of Khalid Muzafar Wani, the brother of slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. Khalid was killed in a controversial firing incident by the security forces in April 2015, when Burhan Wani was an active commander of Hizbul Mujahideen.
While the Opposition has criticised the government for sanctioning the ex gratia, the administration says due process was followed in the case before the relief measure was cleared by the district-level screening committee of Pulwama.
Following Khalid’s killing on April 13, 2015, the Army had claimed he was an overground worker of Hizbul Mujahideen. But according to police records, he was not linked to militancy or involved in any terror related incident.
Officials say the district level screening committee sanctioned relief in favour of the Wani family along with dozens of other cases of victims of violence after clearance from security agencies.
“All security agencies were present in the meeting in which ex gratia cases cleared. Before formally sanctioning ex gratia, we have called for objections. It is all tentative, till the time we get objections from people,” said Munir Ul Islam, deputy commissioner of Pulwama.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah however took a jibe at the government and asked if it will now order a probe into the killing of Khalid, since they have declared him innocent by clearing ex gratia in his favour.
“Since the govt has cleared Burhan’s brother as innocent will there be an inquiry in to how the army killed an innocent person in 2015?” Mr Abdullah said in a tweet.
While it may sound controversial, officials say that technically government cannot deny ex gratia to a victim of violence just because he happens to be relative of a terrorist.
There have been a number of instances in Kashmir where a man is a terrorist and his brother has been working in the police or the army. A brother is a separatist leader and other is a minster in the government.