Families demand bodies of Kashmir youth killed on December 30

NC, PDP also demand probe, return of bodies

Updated - January 04, 2021 10:35 pm IST

Published - January 04, 2021 10:34 pm IST - Srinagar:

Army jawans stand guard outside the house where militants were hiding during an encounter at Lawaypora on the outskirts of the Srinagar on December 30, 2020.

Army jawans stand guard outside the house where militants were hiding during an encounter at Lawaypora on the outskirts of the Srinagar on December 30, 2020.

Family members of three youths killed in an encounter in Srinagar on December 30 protested for the sixth consecutive day on Monday, and made a fervent appeal to the J&K administration to return the bodies for burials, claiming them to be “mere civilians and not militants”.

Mushtaq Ahmad, father of the slain Athar Mushtaq Wani from south Kashmir’s Pulwama, a Class XI student, said he had dug up the grave with his own hands.

“All I demand is that my innocent son’s body is returned for burial. I am not asking for heaven. He was just killed for a reward. How could they spend such award money on their own kids?” Mr. Ahmad said.

Mr. Ahmad said he wanted the police to explain to him how “his son, a student, comes to Srinagar and becomes a hardcore militant supporter overnight”.

Shutdown in Kashmir over killing of 3 ‘militants’

Mr. Ahmad and the family of a Shopian youth, Zubair Ahmad Lone, held a protest in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk to press for the return of the bodies. The J&K Police have been denying the return of bodies of slain militants to their families since the pandemic broke out in March last year.

The family demanded that Wani’s call records be made public.

Lone’s brother, a policeman himself, said he demanded a fair inquiry “so that such incidents will not be repeated in the future”.

“Haven’t we seen a similar incident in Shopian’s Amshipora, where an Army captain arranged weapons and put it on the bodies of three civilians? Why can’t it be a case with our family members? Only a probe can satisfy us,” he said.

“Lone was not in Srinagar on that day. His location at around 02:30 was traced in Pulwama's Lassipora, a few kilometres away from our home. We approached the local police officer, who asked us to approach senior police officers,” he said.

NC, PDP support

National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti have also pitched for the return of the bodies.

“Not returning the bodies is the height of repression. I fail to understand why New Delhi and J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha are not paying any heed to the wails and cries of a mother,” Ms. Mufti said.

Mr. Abdullah also called for a probe “to be concluded at the earliest”. “Only a fair and transparent probe, already promised by L-G Sinha will satisfy the families who have lost their loved ones who they insist were innocent,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.

Many netizens have also started an online campaign for the return of the bodies.

Police release videos

Meanwhile, the police on Monday released fresh videos of the December 30 encounter, which took place in Srinagar’s Lawaypora area.

In the short videos, security forces were shown offering the trapped militants to surrender. However, there is no response from the “militants”.

The police have been maintaining that two of the three killed were “hardcore militant sympathisers”.

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