February 2007 News

'Missing' Kashmiri man's relatives identify exhumed body

1 February 2007
Indo-Asian News Service

Srinagar: The body of Abdul Rehman Paddar, earlier assumed to be missing but allegedly killed in a fake police shootout, was exhumed Thursday from a Kashmir graveyard and identified by his father and other relatives.The exhumation was carried out at the Batmohalla graveyard in Sumbal tehsil of Baramulla district of north Kashmir in the presence of a two-member team of the forensic experts from the Chandigarh-based National Forensic Lab that arrived here earlier in the day.'The body was exhumed from the grave today. Gulam Rasool Paddar, the father, and some other relatives of Abdul Rehman Paddar identified the body. A post-mortem was carried out at the graveyard itself,' said Farooq Ahmad, deputy inspector general of police (central Kashmir) who is supervising the investigations into the disappearance and killing of Rehman.'Samples were taken for DNA mapping etc by the forensic experts on the spot and the body was later handed over to the relatives,' the official added.A member of the forensic experts' team told reporters at the graveyard that they would take 45 days to complete the DNA matching.The Batmohalla graveyard, where the victim of the alleged police shootout of Dec 9 was buried, had been guarded by police since the matter came to light last week.While the family had assumed Paddar, a village carpenter, to be missing, his mobile phone was found from a police official associated with the Special Operations Group (SOG) that claimed to have killed a foreign militant in a shootout.It has been alleged that the SOG framed Paddar and killed him, claiming the incident to be that of a shootout with a militant.The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday ordered a judicial probe into Paddar's disappearance and subsequent killing as well as similar disappearances of civilians. A sitting judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court would conduct the probe to be completed within three months.


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