J&K: Kargil Residents Demands Cross-LoC Mechanism for Return of Bodies Washed in River
Srinagar: The residents of the Kargil district of the Ladakh Union Territory have urged the authorities in the region to establish a cross-Line of Control (LoC) coordination mechanism in order to facilitate the return of the bodies of accident victims recovered across the border.
A socio-religious group Jamiat ul Ulama Isna Asharia Kargil, in a statement issued on August 2, urged the governments of India and Pakistan to address the issue on humanitarian grounds after two bodies were recovered in the Suru River across the LoC in the last 15 days.
The volunteers of Isna Asharia were part of a massive search operation launched after an accident was reported earlier on July 23. The vehicle was heading from Drass to Kargil but skidded off the highway and fell into the river. The volunteers, backed by police, disaster response forces and security forces, recovered at least one body while the remaining remains untraceable.
The group said that they have come across various social media posts in the last four days in which reports of the recovery of a body were mentioned in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Kharnmag area. They believe that the body has been identified as Shabir Ahmad, a local of Drass. The recovery comes after another body of a woman was found in the Kharmnag, which was also missing from the past fifteen days.
“In the wake of these incidents, the Isna Asharia, Kargil urges the governments of India and Pakistan, the civil society, and the armed forces to help bring these bodies so that they can be handed over to their families for their final rites,” the statement read.
Political activist Sajjad Kargili, who is also part of the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), told NewsClick that the people and representatives of Ladakh want these bodies to be returned to their families as soon as possible.
“It is very important that the mechanism be established for the return of these bodies on humanitarian grounds. The families of the victims already suffer from a loss, and then at least they should be provided with an opportunity to carry out the final rites. Therefore, we urge the authorities to do something about this issue and provide closure to the families,” he said.
Kargili has also written to Lt. Governor Brigadier B D Mishra requesting him to take the issue with the authorities for the formation of the mechanism to enable contact between the two sides that would help facilitate the timely handover of the bodies.
“Considering the sensitivity of the matter, we believe the involvement of the Army in this process is vital. The establishment of a communication and coordination mechanism at the border near Hundurmo could play a significant role in facilitating the compassionate handover of the deceased bodies that are often recovered across the border,” the letter from Kargili read.
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