Srinagar, Aug 01: Body of an ‘unidentified’ militant, who it turned out was a man from Barzalla believed by his family to be working in Dubai at the time of his death, was exhumed Tuesday in Kupwara and handed over to his family for last rites, more than a month since he was killed by soldiers in an encounter.
On June 29, army claimed to have killed an identified militant in a brief encounter in the forested area of Trehgam in northern Kupwara district.
The identity of the slain militant would have remained a mystery had an unknown biker not dropped a piece of paper at his Barzalla home in Srinagar.
The piece of paper had a message written on it saying, “Mudasir Ahmed Bhat, alias Abu Abullah, of Lashkar-e-Toiba killed at Kupwara encounter.” The startling message descended a pall of glodd on the entire old Barzalla neighbourhood.
It sent Bhat’s family into a tizzy and scurrying for facts about their son who they until then believed was working in Dubai and would occasionally also remain in touch over phone.
Mourners from the area started swarming Bhat’s house as the news and its mysterious announcement was delivered at his home.
Bhat was buried in Jamgund graveyard of Kupwara, but his father Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, a retired government employee along with several of his close relations, decided to fight for the body of his slain son.
“We knew it was an uphill task and something impossible, but we accepted this challenge and decided not to sit idle,” a close relation of slain Bhat said.
After 30 days of rigor, hard work and running between pillar and post, senior Bhat finally succeeded in his efforts as the body of his son was exhumed and handed over to his family for last rites.
Bhat will now be laid to rest at martyrs’ graveyard barely a few hundred meters from his house in home.
“It was a fight for justice which I won. I have hardly slept over the past one month,” says Bhat, the slain militant’s father.
“I had full faith in Almighty and always kept thinking that of the unknown biker. I had taken a pledge to fight hard to see my dead son one last time and to show his face to his mother, brother and sisters.”
Bhat was shown a photograph at police station Kralpora, Kupwara and he at once recognised his son and passed off.
Along with his relatives the senior Bhat met with top officials of police at least five times, travelled to Kupwara six times, and also knocked the doors of the high court doors to seek justice.
Barzulla area also witnessed violent protests against the delay in handing over body of slain militant to his family.
Bhat also had to plead before the police officials to ensure timely report of DNA samples collected from him.
“Things were getting delayed for no reason,” one of Bhat’s cousins said.
The High Court had directed police to expedite the process of procuring the DNA report and to handover the body if the samples matched.
On Tuesday, the day his son’s body was finally exhumed from the Tamgund graveyard, Bhat had to travel to Kupwara to collect it. He had to walk by foot over a hillock to reach the graveyard where his son was buried.
“Thank God, I succeeded in my struggle. My son is in my arms,” he said while travelling back from Kupwara.
Back home Bhat’s mother, brother and sisters were waiting to have a last glimpse.
Inspector general of police Kashmir range, Swayam Prakash Pani said DNA samples of slain militant matched with his father and his body has been handed over to the family.
Meanwhile, heavy deployment of forces was made in Barzulla area to prevent protests.