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Hyderpora encounter | Jammu and Kashmir High Court allows exhumation of third body for burial in hometown

Security personnel stand guard near an encounter site at Hyderpora in Srinagar on November 15, 2021.

Security personnel stand guard near an encounter site at Hyderpora in Srinagar on November 15, 2021. | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday allowed the family of Amir Latief Magray, one of the four persons killed in the Hyderpora encounter on November 14-15 last year in Srinagar, to exhume the body from north Kashmir’s Baramulla for burial at his native place in Ramban in the Jammu region.

“Right to life and liberty guaranteed to a citizen by Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes the right of the citizen to live with human dignity and this right to live with human dignity even extends after death though in a limited extent,” Justice Sanjeev Kumar observed.

He said the right of Muhammad Latief Magray, father of the deceased, to claim the body for performing the last rites in his own way and in accordance with local traditions, religious obligations and religious faith, which the deceased professed during his lifetime, cannot be disputed.

‘Make necessary arrangements’

The court directed the authorities to make necessary arrangements for the exhumation of the body of Magray and transport the same in proper escort to Thatharka village in Ramban’s Gool tehsil.

“The respondents [police] can make appropriate arrangements to ensure that law and order situation does not get vitiated in any manner. They are free to impose any reasonable terms and conditions in respect of exhumation, transportation and burial of the body of Magrey,” Justice Kumar said.

He observed that the body must be in an advanced stage of putrefaction, “as such it would be desirable that the respondents act with promptitude and do not waste any further time”. He held, “However, if the body is highly putrefied and is not in deliverable state or is likely to pose risk to public health and hygiene, the father and his close relatives shall be allowed to perform last rites as per their tradition and religious belief at the present graveyard at Wadder Payeen in Baramulla”.

Compensation

The court directed the authorities, “to pay a compensation of ₹5 lakh for deprivation of his right to have the dead body of his son and give him decent burial as per family traditions, religious obligations and faith.”

The court questioned the police for returning the bodies of two other persons killed in the encounter, including Altaf Ahmad Bhat, owner of the complex where the encounter took place, and Dr. Mudasir Gul, who had a rented accommodation in the complex. 

“The respondents (police) have tried to draw distinction by submitting that as per the investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Team, the deceased (Magray) was a confirmed terrorist whereas the other two killed, Bhat and Gul were only associates of the terrorists. I do not find any logic or sense in distinction so made by the respondents,” it held.

Request turned down

“The petitioner [father of Magray] was a resident of Gool, a remote village in Jammu province and did not have much say in the Valley and, therefore, his request was arbitrarily turned down. The action of the respondents [police] is not traceable to any procedure established by law, which is just, fair and equitable. At least none was brought to the notice of this court,” the court said.

After the encounter, the police claimed that two militants (including a non-local Haider and Magray), an overground worker and a civilian, were killed. However, the families contested the police claim and described Bhat and Dr. Gul as civilians. In the face of protests, the bodies of Bhat and Dr. Gul were handed over to their families.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 10:45:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hyderpora-encounter-jammu-and-kashmir-high-court-allows-exhumation-of-third-body-for-burial-in-hometown/article65467094.ece