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J&K: Court Orders Exhumation of Third Person Killed in Last Year's Hyderpora Encounter

Anees Zargar |
There was outrage over the killings of the ‘innocent’ locals by security forces. While bodies of Altaf and Mudasir were exhumed within days, the authorities had refused to return of Amir Magrey’s body to his family.
J&K: Court Orders Exhumation of Third Person Killed in Last Year's Hyderpora Encounter

Image Courtesy: Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has ordered that the body of Amir Magrey, one of the four persons killed in the controversial Hyderpora encounter in Srinagar last year, be exhumed and his father be compensated with Rs 5 lakh if the body is found decomposed.

Following a petition by Amir’s father, Mohammad Latief Magrey, a bench of Sanjeev Kumar asked the government to make appropriate arrangements for transportation of the body to his native village in Ramban for according a burial.

“The respondents shall also make appropriate arrangement for transportation of the dead body to the village of the petitioner for according burial in his native graveyard in accordance with the traditions, religious obligations and religious faith which the deceased professed during his life time provided it is in deliverable state,” the court said.

The order, however, added that since the dead body of the Amir must be in advance stage of “putrefaction”, it would be desirable that his family act with “promptitude and do not waste any further time.”

“However, if the body is highly putrefied and is not in deliverable state or is likely to pose risk to public health and hygiene, the petitioner and his close relatives shall be allowed to perform last rites as per their tradition and religious belief in the Wadder Payeen graveyard itself,” the order read. 

In that situation, the court added, the State shall pay to the petitioner a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for “deprivation of his right to have the dead body of his son and give him decent burial as per family traditions, religious obligations and faith which the deceased professed when he was alive.”

Mohammad Latief Magray had filed the petition through his counsel Deepika Singh Rajawat in December last year. “It is a historic decision and it is a victory and proves that judiciary is not living under any compulsion,” Deepika said.

Amir was killed along with three others identified as Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Dr Mudasir Gul and a non-local militant known as Bilal Bhai at an encounter in Hyderpora area of Srinagar on November 15, 2021. The security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police drew flak after families of the three local Kashmiris claimed they were “innocent”.

The bodies of Altaf and Mudasir were exhumed within days while the authorities denied return of Amir’s body to his family, buried in a village of North Kashmir’s Handwara district like other militants.  The government has been burying militants in these far-off places away from their respective home towns since past two years as a measure to avoid law and order situation during funerals.

In the order, however, the court said that the “apprehension of law and order getting vitiated at this point of time also appears to be illusory”.

“When the respondents could maintain the law and order situation when the dead bodies of two, namely, Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Dr. Mudasir Gul were exhumed and handed over to their relatives for last rites on 18.11.2021, it is not difficult for 12 WP (C) No. 11/2022 the respondents to make necessary arrangements for exhumation of the dead body of Amir Latief Magrey, the son of the petitioner and transport the same in proper escort to Village Thatharka Seripora Tehsil Gool District Ramban,” the order read.

“If only the administration had listened to us in the immediate aftermath of the encounter. At the time I’d met the family of Amir Magrey & they were deeply distressed at the treatment meted out to their son. Thank goodness the court did what the Govt didn’t,” former J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted.

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