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Hyderpora Encounter: Court Awards Compensation To Magray, Family Demands Body And Removal Of Terrorist Tag

Haidar was called by J&K Police, a Pakistani terrorist while Aamir was called his associate and a ‘hybrid militant’.

Family members of civilians who were allegedly killed in the Hyderpora encounter hold placards during a protest demanding justice for them, in Srinagar on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: Aamir Magray was killed in an encounter on November 15 last year when forces zeroed in on a three-story building in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area. Families of those civilians killed in the operation say it was ‘staged’. Besides Aamir, Altaf Bhat, Mudasir Gul, and one more person named Haidar were killed.

“We are poor but Allah is seeing everything. He will serve divine justice,” Mymoona, the sister of Aamir Magray said after the J&K High Court refused to give back her brother’s dead body calling the demand ‘unacceptable’.

Haidar was called by J&K Police, a Pakistani terrorist while Aamir was called his associate and a ‘hybrid militant’. Bhat was a businessman who owned that building while Gul was a dentist who, as per police, was running an illegal call centre on the premises.

“The court awarded rupees 5 lac compensation to us, besides ordering the government to return to us the dead body of Aamir. When else did the court order compensation to a militant or asked the government to give back the militant’s dead body to the family? Never,” Mymoona said.

“The judges in the High Court are not illiterate. They understand the nuances of the case. Did they make any observation that Aamir was a militant? They instead granted us relief in the first judgment,” Mymoona added.

Father of Aamir, Abdul Lateef Magray had moved High Court soon after the encounter seeking back his son’s dead body. Nearly five months later a decision was made by a single judge bench.

Citing earlier decisions of the apex court, it said that “(every individual) has a right to dignity and fair treatment… the parents and close relations of the deceased are well within their right to demand the dead body of their dear one… This would also include the choice of the relatives to have the dead body cremated or buried at his native place”.

Latief who was content with the verdict said he needed no compensation and the decision was relieving as he could at least “pray for his dead son” at the nearby graveyard where they intended to bury him. But soon, the J&K government filed an appeal and a different bench put a stay on the exhumation.

“We were not so mad that we would bring out the body in case it was very desiccated. Only if it seemed that it could have been exhumed and transported, we would do it. Else, we would go, open the grave and check and most possibly just offer our prayers and leave back after closing the grave,” Mymoona added.

The bodies of Gul and Bhat were given back days after the families of the duo protested at Srinagar. No relief was given to Latief who had come with a Sarpanch of his far-off village in the Ramban district. His son was a militant for the government which had awarded Latief with a bravery award for killing a militant with a stone in 2005.

“Since my early childhood, we have been living under the security cover given to us by the Jammu and Kashmir police. It was there in place for over a decade when my father killed a militant with a stone. Immediately after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court announced relief to us, the very next day the police protection on our house was withdrawn. There was no reason given to us for this,” Mymoona added.

“There are a lot of things that could be told but given the way things operate in Jammu and Kashmir, telling the truth is criminalized,” Mymoona said as she broke down remembering her dead brother.

The family has time and again challenged the Jammu and Kashmir police to prove that their son was a militant and they would stop going to the courts and asking for justice. But there is no credible evidence that the family says has been given to them asserting the same.

Even the government has not provided the families with the report of the magisterial inquiry that was ordered by J&K Governor in the case.” We asked that a magisterial inquiry report ordered by the governor be given to us but nothing was shared. Even the copy of the FIR or the autopsy and ballistic report was not given to us,” Saima Bhat, niece of slain Altaf Bhat told India Ahead.

She added that the magistrate who inquired about this case was transferred from his place and there has been no progress at all.

Meanwhile, Mymoona added that they do not have enough resources to fight the state government, however with all that they have got, they would approach the Supreme Court.

Before as well, on June 27, a vacation bench held a hearing in the case but did not grant any relief while asking the family to go back to the HC as it did want to “snatch the case from HC”.

“We are poor and helpless. Had my brother been a militant why should senior police officers visit us? What would the government award us compensation for? Why would not judges for once even debate about the role of my brother as a militant?” “Value of my brother’s life isn’t just five lac rupees. There is no price to any life at all”. Mymoona lamented.

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