Death Certificate Issued To Hostages Abducted By Al-Faran
28 January 2003
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir Government has finally issued death certificates of four foreign hostages who were abducted by terrorists in 1995, official sources said in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Government had sought a reply from the state police after a representation was received from kin of hostage Paul Wells of Britain to hear a final word about him from New Delhi. The State Government had said that as far as Wells was concerned, the DNA test had confirmed that the skelton recovered from South Kashmir was that of the UK national. A group of six Western tourists - Derk Hassert, Keith Mangan, John Childs, Donald Hutchings, Paul Wells and Hans Christan Ostro were kidnapped between July four and six in 1995 by a little known militant outfit Al-Faran, which was later found to be a shadow group of Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Ansar. While Childs managed to escape from his abductors, body of Ostro was found on August 17, 1995 with his head severed. The state police, which conducted extensive searches for them, has now issued death certificates under Section 108 of Indian Evidence Act. Under the act, any person missing for over seven years could be declared dead. Though the death certificates for Hassert, Hutchings and Mangan have also been issued the security agencies had been unable to locate their bodies.