Uri villagers refuse to bury militants, tell police ‘we don’t know whether we have been burying militants or civilians’

Uri villagers refuse to bury militants, tell police ‘we don’t know whether we have been burying militants or civilians’

Baramulla: The villagers of Baryan village in Uri refused to bury the bodies of the three militants who were killed by the government forces in Hajin on Thursday. Reason? They told the police that given the past history of fake gunfights in which civilians have been killed and passed off as militants, they are not sure whether they have been burying civilians or militants.
Ever since the death of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Kashmir chief Abu Qasim in November last year, the forces have been burying all Pakistani militants in Baryan village, about 90km from Srinagar. As many 35,000 people had attended Qasim’s funeral compared to a few dozen who participated in the funeral of a Kashmiri police officer, Altaf Ahmad, whom Qasim had killed.
In fact, two villages had fought over Qasim’s body, each demanding the ‘privilege’ of burying him on their own soil.
An embarrassed government had since then been taking all ‘foreign militants’ to Baryan, which is literally an extension of the army garrison and about 2km from the Line of Control. There are no chances of hero’s funeral in this place.
However, when the three persons killed in Hajin, who were declared as Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit by the police, were brought for burial to their village, Baryan residents flatly refused to bury them.
“We don’t know who are they, how can we believe they are militants…they can be civilians. First, the police should clear who these persons are and let us the pictures of the bodies
“They have been buried so many people in our graveyard…the only thing they tell us is that they are militants…this time we want to know who they are, else we will not let them bury an unknown person in our graveyard,” the villagers told the police team headed by station house officer of Bonyar police station.
The villagers demonstrated which prompted the police team to take the bodies to a forested area in Bonyar, 5-6km downhill. The policemen buried the bodies themselves on a piece of land behind the government higher secondary school in Bonyar.
Several years ago, the police had to face similar resistance in Noorkhah, Salamabad, a village close to the Line of Control in garrisoned Uri town. The people had told the police that militants should be buried in areas where they are killed so that if any person claims the body he does not have to travel to such a remote place.

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