Bandipora: Four families arrived in Bandipora on Tuesday to claim the bodies of their militant sons, a day after militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen claimed that the five militants killed in Sumlar Bandipora last week were locals. The outfit also gave out the identities of the militants, who were killed over two days in a joint operation by army and other government forces. The slain militants were buried in the Gantamulla graveyard where non-local militants are buried after police could not ascertain their identity.
The first family to arrive at Bandipora, where a complete shutdown was being observed for the fifth straight day since the militants’ killings, was of Bilal Ahmad alias Abu Haider from Kulgam in south Kashmir.
The family told Kashmir Reader that they identified Bilal from the photographs of the killed militants that were shared on social media. The family claim corroborated with the Hizb statement in which it identified all the five militants.
“My brother had crossed the Line of Control in 2003. We identified him from a photograph”, Mashooq Ahmad, brother of Bilal, said.
Another family from Kellar village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district came to demand the body of their son, Farooq Bajran alias Umar. According to his brother, Rafeeq Bajran, Umar was missing from home in 2014 after floods hit Kashmir.
Later, a family from Kangan, Ganderbal, reached Bandipora to claim the body of Parvaiz Ahmad Tedwa alias Mawya. According to the family, Tedwa was missing from his home since 2003.
A family from Warnow area of Kupwara district came to claim the body of their son, Mohammad Sidiq Sountra alias Abu Usman. The family visited the DC Baramulla’s office to claim the body.
Reyaz Ahmad, a cousin of the one of the slain militants, said that they were sent from one office to another.
“The deputy commissioner directed us to the SSP Bandipora, who directed us to the Baramulla district administration, from where we were went to SSP Baramulla. He gave us a detailed report about the burial of the militants and then turned us back to Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, who again directed us to go to the Bandipora district administration, telling us that it is up to them to decide about our case. We are staying at Baramulla for the night and will again approach Bandipora district administration to plead for the handover of the bodies,” Reyaz said.
On Thursday an encounter broke out at Shogbaba village of Sumlar which went on for two days and concluded with the killing of five militants. The police and army, however, didn’t come clear on the identity of the slain militants. The bodies, one of which was mutilated beyond recognition, were buried at Gantmulla.
After the Hizb identified all the militants as locals in a statement on Monday evening, three families came forward to demand the bodies from Bandipora district administration with the help of the traders’ federation, civil society, and Auqaf committee. The families alleged that they were directed from one district to another.
—With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad in Baramulla