Kulgam Family’s Search For Abducted Son Ends After 1 Year

Shakir Manzoor's family members during protest in Srinagar | File photo

Decomposed Body Of Soldier Found, Family Says It’s Him

Srinagar: The decomposed body of a man, suspected to be that of a Territorial Army jawan kidnapped by militants last year, was recovered from Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Wednesday.

Police found the body, wrapped in a tarpaulin, in Mohammadpora in Kulgam.

Police suspect that the mortal remains might be of Territorial Army jawan Shakir Manzoor Wagay who was kidnapped by militants on August 2 last year.

Police has taken the body for identification and other medical formalities, they said.

Meanwhile, the family believes that the recovered body is of Shakir.

"I am sure it is his body. The structure of his feet is same as mine and the hair is also similar," says 56-year-old Manzoor, Shakir’s father.

His family had last month observed Shakir's first death anniversary at their village near Reshipora, 15 km from the main district of Shopian in volatile South Kashmir. The soldier was the sole breadwinner of his family.

Manzoor said it seemed that his son's body was buried somewhere else and was later dumped near the mobile tower where it was found.

The decomposed body was recovered by the 34 Rashtriya Rifles after receiving information that a body was found wrapped under a canopy near the mobile tower.

The body was handed over to local police who sought a team from neighbouring Anantnag district to collect DNA samples and match it with those of the family members. The skeletal remains were taken to Srinagar for DNA tests. Manzoor was also taken to Srinagar, a family member said.

"I am sure that it is his (Shakir) body but let the legal action be over. After that I will bury him with all rituals," a sobbing Manzoor said.

Since August 2 last year, when Shakir was abducted and believed to have been killed, the Wagey family has faced other tragedies. Manzoor's elder son, Muzzafar, a truck driver, met with an accident and suffered a permanent disability.

Manzoor's other son, Shahnawaz is studying in the second semester of Bachelor of Business Administration.

"He (Shakir) had a surgery on his foot and after we washed the body, the marks of stitches were still there. And the 'kada' in his right arm was also there," Shahnawaz said.

Shakir, posted with the 162 battalion of the Territorial Army, attached with Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, was going to the Army camp at Beehi Bagh from home when militants abducted him from a nearby apple orchard. Next day, his car was found burnt and later, his blood-soaked clothes were recovered, an Army officer said.

Initially, it was presumed that Shakir may have joined ranks with a militant group but later Shakoor Parrey, an informer, who joined banned Al-Badar militant group, claimed responsibility for his killing, the official said.

Later, during an anti-militancy operation, 44 Rashtriya Rifles ensured a surrender in August last year of an Al-Badar militant Shoaib who told the investigators that Shakir was killed by Parrey and buried at an undisclosed location. The Army had dug at least 27 places during the past year, the official added.

Shanawaz said that his father had to spend a fortune on offering the last prayers of Shakir. "He (Manzoor) used to wake up during the night crying for his son. After all, bhai (brother) was a ray of hope in their old age. Now I am trying to live up to their expectations," 20-year-old Shahnawaz said.

The family had searched all adjacent villages, including Landoora, Kundlan, Malpora, Nildora and Nihama, where Shakir's burnt car was located.

At least three militants, arrested or surrendered, have told investigators that they had tortured Shakir and later on Parrey killed him and disposed of his body, the official said.

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