Mystery over the killing of Burhan Wani deepened on Thursday when chief minister of India's northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti claimed that security forces had no inkling that Hizbul Mujahedeen commander was present in the hideout on the day of the encounter at Bamdoora village on July 8.
Mehbooba's disclosure comes on the day when Hizbul released new video showcasing the new group minus Burhan in the jungles of south Kashmir.
"How can one know about every encounter? I have talked to the police and, army and they told me that there were three militants but they did not know who they were. I feel if they knew (Burhan was there), perhaps we would had looked for another chance. Like Omar Abdullah who knew about Afzal Guru hanging and prepared for it accordingly," Mehbooba told reporters on the sidelines of the Peoples Democratic Party foundation day celebrations.
The opposition party National Conference (NC) reacted angrily describing Mehbooba's remarks as "theatrical tendency to lie and deflect responsibility".
"It was ironic and ridiculous that the chief minister was terming Burhan Wani's killing a coincidence while simultaneously having released lakhs of rupees as reward money from the Chief Minister's secret fund for those who took part in the encounter", said Nasir Aslam Wani, National Conference provincial president.
Abdullah said that Mufti was kept fully informed of Burhan's killing."I'm going by the first on record statement by Jammu and Kashmir police to the media that the chief minister was kept fully informed of the killing. At no point in the first Jammu and Kashmir police media briefing was it ever suggested that they didn`t know who was trapped," Abdullah said in a series of tweets.
Burhan was killed along with two of his associates by the security forces at Bamdoora village of Kokernag in south Kashmir's Anantnag district on July 8.
"There seems to be larger design behind such orchestrated eruptions to push Kashmiris into perpetual economic deprivation and social disorder. Kashmiris are made to pay a huge price by way of their life and livelihood in each such cycle of violence. It has been observed time and again that such hideous situations have only hurt the interests of Kashmiris the most," Mehbooba said.
Chief minister called upon India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a renewed effort towards the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir's problems by engaging all the stakeholders.
"I am sure the country's political leadership will pick up the threads and carry forward the reconciliation and resolution process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003," she said and emphasised the need for taking concrete steps to win hearts and minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mehbooba's statement came on the day when Hizbul Mujhadeen released new video featuring heavily armed militants in army fatigues. It is the first video that has been released by Hizbul after the killing of Burhan Wani, who used social media to the hilt to send across his messages.