Ensure punishment to those involved in killing of civilians in Hyderpora: PAGD to President Kovind
The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has appealed to President Ram Nath Kovind to ensure that the rule of law prevails in Jammu and Kashmir and those ''erring officials'' involved in the killing of civilians in the Hyderpora encounter are brought to book and punished.
''In this unfortunate incident, three civilians got killed in suspicious circumstances. The incident calls for a time-bound judicial probe so that facts are unraveled and brought in the public domain,'' he said.
Abdullah, who heads the National Conference, said such unfortunate incidents widen the gulf between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India and, therefore, are to be avoided at any cost.
''We would remind Your Excellency that the administration of Jammu and Kashmir is being run in the name of Your Excellency by the Lt. Governor acting as an agent and, therefore an onerous responsibility is placed on Your Excellency to ensure that the rule of law prevails and the involved erring officials are brought to book and punished under the law," he said.
He also raised the issue of the practice of taking away the bodies of the victims of such incidents and depriving their families of the right to organize their burial following religious practices. ''In the unfortunate incident of Hyderpora also, the bodies of three civilians have been taken away by the security forces and reportedly buried 100 km away from their residences. Your Excellency, the right to decent burial is well recognized in the Constitution of India as well as in international humanitarian law.
"The dead bodies cannot be denied the right to burial under any circumstances including the so-called law and order problem. The bereaved families likewise also have a right to organize burial of the dead body following their religious practices," he wrote in the letter dated November 18.
The PAGD alleged that in the past few years such rights have been "violated with impunity". ''In the present case, these rights are being denied. We would request Your Excellency to intervene in the matter and ensure that the dead bodies are returned to their families so that they can perform their last rites following their respective religious practices," it said. The matter is of grave concern and calls for urgent action, Abdullah added.
The bodies of the two civilians -- Altaf Bhat and Mudasir Gul -- killed during Monday's encounter in the Hyderpora area of the city were exhumed at Handwara late on Thursday and were handed over to the families. The bodies were buried here during the night after their last rites were performed by the families.
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