“Won’t rest till killers of our children are punished,” say Rajouri families on receiving exhumed bodies of 3 slain youth

By Ayushi Malik, TwoCircles.net

Baramulla: The bodies of the three missing Rajouri labourers killed in a ‘staged encounter’ in Shopian on July 18 have been exhumed and handed over to the family members early morning on Saturday in Gantamulla, Baramulla.

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“The bodies were exhumed around 5 am and handed over to us,” Saleem, cousin of young Abrar, told TwoCircles.net on phone en-route to their village from Kashmir.

The family members accompanied by social activist Guftar Chaudhary went to Kashmir on Friday for the exhumation. Labeled as unidentified militants, their bodies were buried in a graveyard in Gantamulla, Baramulla around 250 kilometers from their native village.

Unable to look at the bodies, they were identified by the serial number labeled at the time of the burial. “Unki halat abhi bahut zayda khrab thi, jinhone aisa kiya hai unko jab tak fansi ni milegi to dil main chain nahi milega (The bodies have been disfigured. Whoever killed our children should be hanged. We won’t rest until they are punished)”, adds Saleem.

“We can see them for the last time before burying them with proper rituals,” he said.

He states that the three boys will be given a proper burial the same day in their respective native villages. “Imtiaz Ahmed and Mohammad Abrar in Kathuni village and Abrar Ahmed in Taskarri in Rajouri district of Jammu,” he said.

The three missing labourers, Imtiaz Ahmed (18), Mohammad Abrar (16) and Abrar Ahmed (25) were killed in a fake encounter in Shopian on July 18 and were buried in Baramulla district of Kashmir after locals failed to identify them as local militants.

Social Activist Guftar Chaudhary, who accompanied the family members to Baramulla for exhumation, announced on Twitter the handing over of bodies to the family members. “Heaviest corpse I have ever lifted on my shoulders, 16 years old Abrar Ahmed, Imtiaz Ahmad and Abrar. It was very very long morning for us. Jhelum gawah hai our three young boys were martyred on 18 July. Murderers of three boys should be hanged. Fight for the justice of three innocent boys has just begun. On behalf of the family I thank the Rajouri administration for arranging all the things and extending all support to us”, Guftar wrote, with a picture of three exhumed bodies in wooden boxes.

After the exhumation which lasted an hour, according to Saleem, the bodies were shifted to an ambulance.

The trio had left home to work in Shopian and went missing since July 17.  The family members had identified the trio through circulated photographs on social media on August 10, a day after the family members filed a missing report at a local police station.

Separate probes ordered to look into the matter by the Army and the Police found that the three ‘unidentified militants’ killed in the gunfight in Shopian on July 18 were indeed the three labourers. A DNA test report on September 25 further confirmed the fact.

The inquiry ordered into the encounter by the Army had concluded that the powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) were “exceeded during the operation” on September 18.

Mohammad Yousuf, the father of Abrar Ahmed, demands that the killers of their children should be hanged to give justice to their slain children.

Two persons have been arrested in connection with the fake encounter on September 29 on charges of “criminal conspiracy” and for their role in pre-execution of the encounter.