Father of Kashmir youth killed in ‘encounter’ waits with empty grave 

Mushtaq Ahmad, father of 11th class student Athar Mushtaq has dug up an empty grave at his native village of Belou.

Published: 04th January 2021 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2021 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir Police (Photo | PTI)

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: With the police not handing over the dead bodies of the three local youth killed in a recent ‘encounter’ in Srinagar outskirts, father of one of the slain youth has dug up an empty grave for his son at his ancestral graveyard in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Mushtaq Ahmad, father of 11th class student Athar Mushtaq has dug up an empty grave at his native village of Belou. Athar was among three youth, whom security forces say were militants and killed in an encounter at Lawaypora in Srinagar outskirts on December 30. Police claimed an assault rifle and two pistols were recovered at the encounter site.

However, families of the slain youth have alleged that the three were civilians and not even remotely connected with militancy. “My son was studying in class 11th. He was a civilian and brutally killed by troops in a staged encounter. Now I want his body back so that I can give a proper burial to my son’s body at our graveyard,” said Mushtaq.

The bodies of all the three slain youth Athar Mushtaq, Aijaz Ahmad Ganai, both hailing from Pulwama and Zubair Ahmad Lone from Shopian were buried by police quietly in a graveyard in Sonamarg area in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. After the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, police is not handing over bodies of local militants killed in encounters to their families.

“After my son’s death, I went to Srinagar and visited the Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar to see my son’s face for the last time. I was not allowed. Then I went to Gund, Ganderbal and pleaded with security men to let me, my wife and my daughter see Athar’s face. But we were not allowed to see him for the last time,” said Mushtaq.

He appealed government to return his son’s body so that he can give a proper burial to the body. “I will wait to bury the body at his ancestral graveyard here,” said Mushtaq. He threatened to take his life if his son’s body was not handed over. 

‘Threats started after getting domicile’ 
A 67-year old goldsmith Satpal Nischal, who was shot dead by militants at his shop in Hari Singh High street of Srinagar on December 31, had never faced any militant threat, but was killed after he had got the domicile certificate. “My father was living in Kashmir since 1970 and running this jewellery shop since 1984. We did not close our shop even during the peak of militancy in 1990s,” said Satpal’s elder son Rakesh

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