Two of three young men killed in an encounter with security forces at Parimpora were "radically inclined" and terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the police said on Friday, adding they are investigating the case.
In a statement, a spokesman of the Jammu and Kashmir Police said the claim of the family of one of the three -- Aijaz Maqbool Ganai -- that he had gone to a university to fill up a form was found to be false.
The families of the young men have claimed that they had no connection with terrorism. They protested outside the police control room in Srinagar and claimed that those killed included a Class 11 student, a university student and a carpenter.
The police spokesman said the encounter started following inputs from the Army and was a joint operation of the Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police.
"After the cordon was laid, terrorists lobbed grenade from inside and fired upon the search party. Although as per SOP, terrorists were repeatedly appealed by the troops to surrender in the evening and again in the morning. However, instead of surrendering, they fired upon troops and eventually got neutralised in a gunfight," the spokesman said.
He said the claim of Ganai's parents that he went to a university was cross-checked using techniques including records of the telecom department.
"Contrary to the claims, the verified digital evidence revealed and corroborated that Ganai and Ather Mushtaq had gone to Hyderpora and from there to the site of the encounter," he said.
The police spokesman said another youth - Zubair Lone - had gone first to Pulwama, then Anantnag, where from he went to Shopian and then again to Pulwama and finally came to Parimpora.
The spokesman said a background check found that Ganai and Mustaq were linked with Lashkar and gave logistics support.
"Antecedents and verifications too show that both were radically inclined and had aided terrorists of LeT - now so-called The Resistance Front (TRF) - outfit," the spokesman said.
The police said a terrorist who is under custody has corroborated Ganai's link with Lashkar terrorist Faisal Mustaq Baba, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Pampore in June last year.
Mushtaq was a relative of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Rayees Kachroo, who was killed in 2017, the spokesman said.
The police, however, said it is investigating the case. "Nevertheless, police is investigating into the case from all possible angles," the spokesman added.
Political parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, have called for an investigation into the encounter.