Srinagar: A day after Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar, said that bodies of the three ‘militants’ killed in Lawaypora Srinagar ‘gunfight’ in December would not be handed over to their families in wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the father of one of the slain youth on Tuesday said that he will give in writing that there will be no such problem.
“Hand over the body of Athar to me in the dead of the night. I promise I will lay him to rest in darkness in absence of people in the grave that I have dug for him. My ailing father and mother want to see his face last time,” Mushtaq Ahmed Wani told reporters in Belou village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Pertinently, three youth from South Kashmir — three from Pulwama and one from Shopian — were killed in a ‘gunfight’ on December 30 last month in Lawaypora area of Srinagar outskirts.
Shortly after, the families had termed the encounter ‘fake’ and described the slain youth as students. All the three slain youth — Zubair Ahmed from Turkwangam Shopian, Ajaz Maqbool of Mitrigam Pulwama and Athar Mushtaq from Belou Pulwama — were buried in Sonamarg area of Central Kashmir. The families are demanding their bodies since.
The relatives of slain Athar Wani and Zubair Ahmed and some villagers took out a peaceful march through the lanes of Belou village on Tuesday. The participants were carrying black banners seeking dead bodies of the trio.
The father of Athar said that, recently, his relative policeman was killed in a militant attack in Natipora Srinagar and he himself participated in his funeral. “Over 10,000 people were part of the funeral of that policeman. When the body was returned to the family, and people participated in his funeral despite COVID-19 SOPs, why the body of my son will not be handed over to me? I will give in writing that I will bury my son in the dead of night. Handover the body during night hours and I will bury him without violating COVID-19 SOPs,” Mushtaq Ahmed said.
“First they killed my son and now claim is being made that they are gathering evidence. What kind of justice it is that you kill a person and later collect evidence,” he asked.
The grandfather of Athar said that he was a student and not a militant. “Before he was killed, Athar regularly slept on the bed beside me as he was suffering from an ailment. Suddenly, he was dubbed as militant and was killed,” he said.
Muhammad Yousuf Shah, a relative of another slain youth, Zubair Ahmed, said that the incumbent Lieutenant Governor is a reasonable one and they expect justice from him. “If our sons turn out to be militants, we will remain silent and won’t claim their bodies, but when there is no proof that can link them with militancy, the authorities should handover the bodies so that they can be laid to rest at their native villages,” he said. (KNT)
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