“Why bury our kin in Baramulla?”: Families of Shopian militants ask for bodies

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Srinagar: Two militants, who were killed in a gunfight with the government forces in Shopian district, were buried in Sheeri Baramulla, notwithstanding claims by two families from the south Kashmir that the militants were their kins.

The gunfight in Dairoo Keegam village of Shopian, south Kashmir, took place nearly a week after Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Sajad Nawab Dar was killed and hundreds of people participated in his funeral at Sopore.

Later police registered FIR against people who gathered at the funeral in defiance of a lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.

While police said that no family approached them, the two families denied it, saying “not only police, we approached the deputy commissioner Shopian as well.”

The families claim that the identities of militants were Ashiq Ahmad Magray of Ganavpora and Asif Ahmad Dar of Bungam Shopian. They said both were affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-backed militant outfit.

“As soon we came to know about their killing, we approached police and Deputy Commissioner Shopian. They told us to wait and despite our imploring that not more than six persons amid pandemic will participate in their funerals, they took bodies to Baramulla,” Ghulam Nabi Magray, uncle of Ashiq Ahmad Magray told. Magrey said he identified his nephew through photographs which went viral on social media soon after the gunfight was over.

Rafi Ahmad Dar, brother of Asif Ahmad Dar, said he called him early morning said that he was under trap in a cordon. “I shared the message with a concerned police officer,” he said, adding, “The pictures [of the bodies] are clear and we have no doubt they are our kin.”

A police officer, however, said that the militants were unidentified and nobody approached them before the bodies were taken to Sheeri Baramulla, one of the places in Kashmir Valley where foreign militants or those who remain unidentified are generally buried.

Asked if the bodies would be handed over to the families as they claim them to be their kin, the police officer said: “We had already taken their sample [killed militants]. If any family claims that they were their kin they have to follow the procedure.”  He said once the DNA samples are received, they would be matched with the concerned families. (GNS)

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