ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (APP): The Indian police have charged a Kashmiri man seeking the body of his teenage son, who was martyred by occupation forces in a fake encounter during the last week of December 2020.
“Police said Mushtaq Ahmed and six others, including his two brothers, were charged last week under India’s harsh anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” Associated Press (AP) reported.
The victim, Athar Mushtaq Wani, along with two others was killed by the Indian troops during a fake encounter in the Lawaypora, Srinagar, on December 30, 2020.
The Indian authorities had buried them at a remote graveyard about 115 kilometers (70 miles) from their ancestral villages.
“Under a policy started in April 2020, Indian authorities have buried over 150 alleged Kashmiri rebels in unmarked graves, denying their families proper funerals. The policy has added to widespread anti-India anger in the region,” AP reported.
The young men’s families have protested repeatedly seeking their bodies, while insisting they were not militants and were killed in cold blood.
The killings and remote burial drew widespread public mourning. Videos on social media in which Ahmed sought his son’s body triggered an outburst of emotions as thousands rallied behind a “return the bodies” campaign, it added.
“Last month, Ahmed dug a grave for his son at his village, demanding that his body be exhumed and returned for burial at his ancestral graveyard. The grave remains empty,” AP added.
Meanwhile, India is being vehemently criticized, both at home and abroad, for registering a case under draconian laws against a father of one of the three Srinagar fake encounter victims for demanding the body of his martyred son, Kashmir Media Servive (KMS) reported.
Following strong criticism by Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and former IIOJK Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, now India is being grilled globally for booking the father for demanding the body of his son.
Saudi Arabia based English daily Arab News while quoting a Kashmiri human rights lawyer, Habeel Iqbal, said it had been a cruel decision to book the family under anti-terror laws.
“A father demanding the dead body of his son is being booked under the anti-terror legislation is an instance where the law is being used as an instrument of oppression to create a sense of fear among citizens, an attempt to create a reign of terror in the minds of ordinary citizens,” he added.
He pointed out that the policy of not returning the dead bodies of the youth was a “violation of international armed conflict law and humanitarian law.”
Describing the move as “absurd,” Delhi-based Kashmiri activist, Nasir Khuehami, told Arab News that: “Since they couldn’t silence Mushtaq, they booked him. If the intimidation doesn’t work, they’ll jail him with more fake cases.
This is the new Kashmir, where demanding to return a son’s dead body is an unlawful activity. “Things are going from bad to worse. If the government believes that it can Indianize Kashmir by such acts, then it is living in a fool’s world,” he added.
Anuradha Bhasin, Jammu-based senior journalist and editor of the English newspaper Kashmir Times, said: “This creates more alienations. If you close all space to seeking legal recourse to justice, if you close down all democratic spaces, if you shoot down messengers and those seeking justice then you are creating more alienation and lack of faith in the government.”
Mushtaq Wani told Arab News: “I demanded from the authorities whether they have any proof, any footage, or any camera evidence about my son’s nefarious activities. I asked them to show that my son was a militant.”
The newspaper wrote that despite protests by family members pleading the teenager’s innocence, the local administration buried the three bodies in a remote graveyard more than 100 kilometers away from their native Pulwama district in south Kashmir, KMS added.