The father of Amir Magray, one of the four people killed in an encounter in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area last month, today filed a petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking the return of his son’s body, maintaining his “innocence” and the family’s long contribution to the fight against terrorism.
This comes two days after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police probing the encounter claimed that while one civilian was killed by a foreign terrorist, two others, including a local “militant” (Amir Magray), died in the crossfire after being used as a human shield by the hiding terrorist.
A Pakistani terrorist and three others were killed in Hyderpora on November 15 and the police claimed that all had links to terrorism. The families of the three alleging foul play had claimed that they were innocent, prompting the police to order an inquiry. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
“… That being close to Amir, the petitioner knew everything good and bad about him, thus can state on oath that his son was never involved into any anti-national activities or was associated with any such outfit that conspires to bring harm to the nation,” Amir’s father Mohd Latief said in his petition.
Invoking Article 21 of the Constitution which extends the right to have decent burial as per religious ceremonies and rules, for his son, the petitioner said he has been instrumental in fighting and curbing terrorism by working as a civilian volunteer with the Army.
Referring to an incident from August 6, 2005, when he along with his wife and other family members killed a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist who barged into his house and fired indiscriminately, the petitioner said he was conferred the State Award for Bravery for the year 2012 by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for showing exemplary courage despite being injured in the firing which also killed his cousin.
“That apart from the same, the petitioner has been well appreciated by the Indian Army for his service towards the nation in eliminating militancy in his area – Gool Sangaldan, Ramban,” the petition said, enclosing copies of appreciation letters and certificates given to him by authorities in acknowledgment of his service.
In view of the family’s open support to the Army, the petitioner has remained vulnerable to attacks, owing to which security was provided to them, which is still in place outside their house.
“… it is obvious that Amir was groomed in an atmosphere of patriotism and away from anti-national activities and forces, thereby, associating Amir with terrorism is not justified to any stretch of the imagination and shall also discourage all those who hold India close to their hearts and are fighting terrorism in a difficult situation in Jammu and Kashmir, without caring about their lives and families,” the petition said.
The petition pleaded the court to direct the Union Home Ministry, Jammu and Kashmir administration, and Director General of Police to hand over his body to the family.
“The magisterial probe was time-bound and the report was supposed to be submitted within 15 days but despite the passage of more than one month, no such report has been submitted so far,” the petition said.
It said the petitioner met the Lt Governor on December 7 to press for the return of Amir’s body and for the making the magisterial probe public and the LG sought two days’ time to make the report public. But the time has lapsed giving a cause of action to the petitioner to approach the court.
The petitioner said he and his wife are grieving and restless as the respondents have not even given them a chance to see their son’s face one last time.
Expressing his wish to bury his son near his house, the petitioner wants to ensure his son is buried within a prescribed period after exhumation and in an atmosphere required to maintain peace.
Seeking an early hearing of his plea, the petitioner pleaded in his appeal that the exhumation of Amir’s body needs to be done at the earliest to save it from decomposing completely.