08 March, 2021

Grave Evidence

Anantnag exhumations seem to confirm fears of a fake encounter

Grave Evidence

IT was mounting public pressure and outrage that forced the J&K government to exhume the bodies of five Anantnag locals on April 6. The exhumation has only confirmed the worst fears of the relatives of those killed, and for both the state and central governments it was nothing short of a major embarrassment.

As relatives identified two bodies of the five villagers, allegations that they were shot down in a fake encounter gained strength. The police and the army now find themselves in a tight spot. Both have been claiming that the five men they killed in a joint operation in Pathribal on March 24-25 were foreign militants involved in the massacre of 36 Sikhs at Chitsinghpura on March 20.

But the facts speak otherwise. Among the bodies exhumed was that of 65-year-old Juma Khan Sr, who, security forces say, was killed in a ‘fierce encounter’. Khan was missing from his village since March 21, a day after the Chitsinghpura massacre. His body was identified by wife, Roshan Khan, and his son. The body of Zahoor Ahmed Dalal, a trader, was identified by his maternal...

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