Hyderpora killings: Returning Ramban youth’s body adversely impacts national security, say police

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The Jammu and Kashmir police have said that the return of the body of Amir Magray, who was killed in Srinagar last year, “will send a wrong message in society and will lead to far greater consequences of law and order and security concerns.” It adds that it will have “adverse consequences upon national security”.

The police have informed this to the High Court in Srinagar as an objection against the writ petition filed by the youth’s family seeking his body for the proper last rites. Amir was shot dead in an alleged gunfight in Hyderpora area of Srinagar along with three others. 

In response to the petition signed by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, a copy of which lies with The Kashmir Walla, the police has said that the petitioner has not approached the court with “clean hands” and has “suppressed material facts” from the court that vitiates the averments made by the respondents.

The objection, filed through an additional advocate general on 25 January, reads that the family is demanding return of a “terrorist body” and not of “an ordinary citizen”. 

The police have prayed to the court that “for the larger concern of the security” the  writ petition merits dismissal. “If by any reason the return of the dead body of a terrorist is considered it will send a wrong message in society and will lead to far greater consequences of law and order and security concerns,” it read. 

The police have argued that during the burial of militants, many people with vested interests including militants manage to join the funeral processions and glorify militancy and thereby provoking people to join militant ranks and legitimize the act of militancy.

“The court will appreciate the fact that the objective behind the burial of dead body of the terrorists outside jurisdiction was the need of hour and meant only for protecting the larger interest of the security and sovereignty of India,” the police have said in the objection.

The objection also adds that a law enforcing agency is within its powers to take preventive steps to ensure that no cognizable offense is committed.

On 31 December, Lateef Magray – father of Amir Magray, one of the three civilians killed in the alleged gunfight, filed a writ petition in Jammu and Kashmir High Court demanding his son’s body.

Lateef Magray, in the petition, has pleaded the court to direct the Union Home Ministry, J-K administration and the Director General of Police (DGP) to hand over the body to the family.

On 15 November, an alleged gunfight took place in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar in which three civilians Muhammad Altaf Bhat, a resident of Barazulla, Dr Mudasir Gul a resident of Budgam and Amir Ahmad Magray, a resident of Ramban was killed. Aamir was working as a helper in Gul’s office.

However, the families of all the three slain civilians rejected the police version that their kin were involved in the militancy.

Initially, all the four bodies were buried about 90 kilometers from the capital city Srinagar in Wudder Payeen village of north Kashmir’s Handwara district. However, succumbing to the family pressure, the authorities later handed over the bodies of Bhat and Gul to be buried in their ancestral graveyard.

However, Amir’s body has not been returned to his family.

Invoking Article 21 of the Constitution, which extends the right to have decent burial as per religious ceremonies and rules, Amir’s family has also pleaded that the exhumation of his body needs to be done at the earliest to save it from getting fully decomposed.

Amir’s family filed the petition, days after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in a press conference declared him a militant associate. The SIT also claimed that Amir was killed in a cross-firing while he tried to escape from the spot. 

The police said that the investigation agency in the case has been able to prove that the deceased was a militant.

“The SIT constituted on this behalf by a DIG rank officer has established Amir Magrey’s active role as terrorist and terror related conspiracies,” say police. “Thus, in terms of previous practices and procedure in order to avoid larger ramifications and adverse impact upon law and order situation and security concerns dead body of the deceased terrorist was shifted and buried by Auqaf Committee in accordance with all religious obligations performed in presence of ex,magistrate Zachaldara at Wadder Payen graveyard.”

The police further adds that Amir’s body was buried with all dignity and religious rites, however, the return of the body at this stage would “jeopardize the rights of other people and raise alarming situations and law and order problems”.

“The apex court in its various verdicts has held the fundamental rights need to be balanced with other rights and in the case it is the matter of national concern that would have adverse impact, hence need to be kept at paramount consideration,” the police said. 

The police said that per the inputs of intelligence agencies, the practice by virtue of which militants are buried outside their residence has proved to be result oriented as incidents of law and order and  joining of militants ranks by youth have declined.

“However, if the instant petition by any means is considered then it would set a wrong precedent having adverse consequences upon national security. Besides, it will pave the way for a plethora of petitions that will have adverse ramifications upon law and order and larger concerns will become a challenge for law enforcement agencies,” the police says

“Moreover, the COVID SOPs and alarming rise in cases makes this petition devoid of merits and by no stretch of imagination can be considered,” the police said.

Speaking with The Kashmir Walla, Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat, who is pursuing the case, said that they would wait for the Union of India’s response on the police objection.

“The court has given two weeks’ time to the Union of India for filing a reply. Their [police] objections are in complete contradiction with our petition,” she said. 

Amir’s father Magray said that the authorities had offered to have a last glance of their kin without handing over the body, which the family rejected. The government had also initiated a magisterial probe to investigate the incident and submit the report within 15 days. However, the outcome of the investigation is yet to be made public.

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