The Jammu and Kashmir unit of CPI(M) on Monday asked the civil society of Ramban and adjoining areas to come forward and demand the return of the body of Amir Magray — the third person killed in the Hyderpora encounter last week — and whose kin claim he was innocent.
The Left party has been pressing for a judicial probe into the controversial encounter in Srinagar and the return of the body of Magray, a resident of the Gool area of Ramban, who was among four persons killed in the incident on November 15.
According to police, Magray was a militant and got killed along with his Pakistani associate and two others. However, Magray’s father Latief who had himself killed a militant in his village over 15 years ago had refuted the police claim and appealed to the Lieutenant Governor to provide “justice to his family” and also return his body for proper burial.
“The civil society in Ramban and other areas must come forward and demand the return of the body of innocent Magray, who was in Srinagar to earn livelihood for his family,” Jammu Regional Secretary CPI(M) Sham Prasad Kesar said in a statement here.
He said, “Killing innocent civilians and then even denying their bodies to their families is a huge injustice and against the basic values of humanity. Why are authorities afraid of even dead civilians?” Urging the authorities to return the body of Magray to his family without any further delay, Kesar said a judicial probe should be ordered into the killing of three civilians.
“As it has been proven beyond any doubt that Magray was a civilian, it is a huge injustice to his family that they are not even allowed to perform his last rites. When the bodies of two other civilians killed in Hyderpora were returned, why is the government reluctant to return Magray’s body to his family?” the CPI(M) leader asked.
He said the government must ensure that those involved in the killing of unarmed civilians are brought to book and punished under the law.
“The probe ordered by the government by an Additional District Magistrate-rank officer in Hyderpora killings is not enough as it is difficult for a middle rung officer to prove something which is contrary to the government claims,” he said.
The CPI(M) leader said, “We demand a judicial and time-bound probe into the gruesome incident which has shaken the whole Jammu and Kashmir.
“The least the government could do to restore the confidence of people in institutions is to punish the culprits of this heinous crime in a transparent and time-bound manner so that it can serve as deterrence to others in future,” he said.
The bodies of Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudasir Gul, two civilians killed in the Hyderpora encounter, were handed over to their kin on Thursday night after they were exhumed following protests by family members that they were innocent and not linked to militancy as claimed by the police.
Police had initially buried them in the Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.