Srinagar: After the bodies of two civilians killed in the Hyderpora shootout were returned to their families, the chorus for handing over the mortal remains of Amir Magray — the third person killed and whose kin claim he was innocent — grew louder on Friday.
Cutting across the political spectrum, leaders from the mainstream as well as the separatist camp demanded that Amir's body be also returned to his family in the Ramban area of Jammu for his last rites.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted that Aamir “is yet to be given a decent burial by his mourning family.”
Amir’s body, she said, must be returned immediately. “The fact that these families are begging for mortal remains instead of asking for justice reflects their lack of faith in the system,” she said.
Firebrand National Conference leader Ruhullah Mehdi while demanding the return of Amir’s body also questioned the lack of clarity surrounding the fourth person allegedly killed in the shootout.
“Is Amir Magray's body returned to his family? And if not, why? Does the administration and also we (the society) think he was child of a lesser mortal? And what about the identity and details of the 4th one killed? Or was there a 4th one? Was there even a combatant among them?,” he tweeted.
Even as the Altaf Bukhari led Apni Party has largely kept silent on the issue, the party’s youth leader and Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu demanded Amir’s mortal remains be handed back to his family.
“As a citizen of India - Amir Magray of Ramban enjoys the same rights (in life and in death) under Article 21 of the Constitution of India as Altaf Bhat and Mudasir Gul. Request @manojsinha_ Sahab that his mortal remains too should be handed over to his family for last rites,” Junaid tweeted.
CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also urged the government to return the body without any further delay.
“It has been proven beyond any doubt that Magray is a civilian. His father Abdul Latief Magray is a state bravery award winner and now his son has been killed and falsely labelled as a militant which is highly unfortunate,” Tarigami said.
“The least the J-K administration could do is to return the body of Magray so that his family could perform his last rites,” he said.
“The government must ensure that those involved in the killing of unarmed civilians are brought to book and punished under law,” the CPI(M) leader said.
Separatist Hurriyat Conference also called upon the authorities to return the body of Magray to his family.
In a statement, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat asked the authorities to “desist from the criminal practice of ceasing bodies and denying their families the right to a proper burial.”
“It is abhorrently inhuman. The Hurriyat calls on the authorities to stop the wanton violence in Kashmir,” it said.
Bodies of Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudasir Gul, two civilians killed in the Hyderpora encounter, were handed over to their kin on Thursday midnight after they were exhumed following protests by family members that they were innocent and not linked to militancy as claimed by police.
Police had initially buried them in the Handwara area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.
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