Kashmir Shuts Down on Hurriyat Call to Protest Hyderpora Killings

Bodies of two slain returned to families at midnight, buried in hurry.

Muhammad Raafi

SRINAGAR — Kashmir valley on Friday observed a complete shutdown against the killings of four people in a military operation in uptown Hyderpora area of the capital city. The call for shutdown was issued by both factions of the Hurriyat Conference led by Masarat Alam Bhat and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Most of the business establishments remained shut throughout the day while public transport was also off the roads. However, a thin movement of private vehicles plied on the roads. A strict shutdown was also witnessed in most of the other district headquarters in north and south Kashmir.

Four people were killed in a late Monday evening military operation. They were Muhammad Altaf Bhat, Dr Mudassir Gul, Aamir Magray and Haider. The police called Haider a foreign militant. Bhat and Dr Gul were businessmen while Aamir worked as an office boy in Dr Mudassir’s construction business office.

During midnight, police returned the bodies of the two slain Muhammad Altaf and Dr Mudassir to their families. The bodies were returned after the families protested for two straight days in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. “Altaf’s body was handed over to us in the Police control room at midnight,” Abdul Majeed, the brother of slain Altaf said.

Bhat and Mudassir’s bodies were returned on the conditions that the funeral prayers would be restricted to minimum participation and that no sloganeering would take place during the process, relatives of both Bhat and Dr Gul told Clarion India. The duo were hurriedly buried in their ancestral graveyards in uptown Srinagar.

Meanwhile, the demand for the return of the third body that of Aamir Magray of Gool in mountainous Ramban district has also gained pace. Lateef Ahmad Magray, the father of Aamir, said that the body of Aamir should be returned to the family on humanitarian basis, “Aamir was as innocent as the other two slain. Why won’t the administration return his body to the family,” he asked?

He urged the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to help the family to get Aamir’s body back and inquire into the incident. Lateef said that he met the Deputy Commissioner Ramban and submitted an application for the return of his son’s body. “The DC said that he has informed the DC Srinagar and we are hopeful that we will get the body back.”

Lateef insisted that Aamir was used as a “human shield” and killed in “cold blood”.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said that Aamir’s mourning family is yet to be given the body for a decent burial. She tweeted: “The fact that these families are begging for mortal remains instead of asking for justice reflects their lack of faith in the system. His body must be returned immediately.”

Three time Jammu and Kashmir state lawmaker, Ruhullah Mehdi questioned the administration and asked if Aamir was a lesser mortal. He tweeted: “Is Amir Magray’s body returned to his family? And if not, why? Does the administration and also we (the society) think he was (a) child of a lesser mortal?.”

He also raised questions about the identity details of the fourth person killed in the operation. “And what about the identity and details of the 4th one killed? Or was there a 4th one? Was there even a combatant among them?”

The Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also called on the authorities to return the body of Amir Magray without delay.

In a statement, the amalgam said that it asks the authorities to desist from the criminal practice of ceasing bodies and denying their families the right to a proper burial. “It is abhorrently inhuman. It  calls on the authorities to stop the wanton violence in Kashmir.”

The amalgam also reiterated its call for the “resolution of the Kashmir dispute” in accordance with the will and aspirations of the people”.

Speaking to Clarion India, the family of Bhat said that it will continue to fight for justice. “We firmly believe that Altaf sb was innocent. Even the IGP told us that he regretted his killing,” slain Bhat’s elder brother Abdul Majeed said. “We will continue to fight for the justice of my brother and bring the culprits of his murder to book.”

Late Wednesday night, the family of Bhat was dragged and bundled into a police van after a raid by the police. The family said that the police officials appeared in the Press Enclave and snapped the electricity. “They then dragged the protesting family members and detained them,” a relative of Bhat said. The family was allowed to go home after a brief detention.

Soon after the operation ended in Hyderpora on Tuesday morning, police in a statement had said that Bhat was a militant associate and Dr Mudassir was involved in ferrying a militant from Downtown Srinagar to his office in Hyderpora. Both the families rejected the police claims.



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