Farooq orders 5 bodies to be exhumed for DNA tests
5 April 2000
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has ordered the state authorities to exhume the bodies of five persons killed by the security forces in the Pathribal mountains on March 24 and directed the district magistrate to conduct all necessary medical tests, including DNA tests, to establish their identity. The police and Army had claimed that the slain men were foreign mercenaries killed in an operation carried out jointly deep in the mountains. But locals alleged that they were actually among 17 people who disappeared after reportedly being picked up by the security forces from different areas of Anantnag district. They also contested the official claim that the slain men were responsible for the March 20 massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chattisinghpura. The disappearances and alleged killings in “fake encounters” had sparked off protests and strikes, and nine people were killed when the police opened fire on one such protest demonstration at Brakapora on Monday. Dr Abdullah, who visited some of the affected areas on Wednesday, said the exhumation should be conducted in the presence of the next of kin of the deceased. He asked minister of state for home Mushtaq Ahmed Lone and the deputy commissioner of Anantnag to be present at the exhumation on Thursday. Dr Abdullah assured the people that a judicial inquiry into the disappearances of the youths, their alleged deaths in “fake encounters” and the bloodshed caused by Monday’s police firing would be carried out by a Supreme Court judge, an official handout said. “My government will do everything possible to bring out the truth of the matter,” Dr Abdullah said. Anantnag and its neighbouring towns, meanwhile, continue to be under an indefinite curfew imposed following the Brakapora incident.