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Bodies of two civilians killed in Hyderpora shootout laid to rest

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Kashmir shuts down in solidarity with civilian victims of Hyderpora shootout

Srinagar: Bodies of Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Mudasir Gul, two civilians killed in the Hyderpora encounter, were laid to rest hours after they were exhumed here, officials said on Friday.

The bodies, which were exhumed at Handwara after sundown on Thursday, reached here around midnight, they said.

The officials said emotional scenes were witnessed as soon as the bodies of Bhat and Gul reached Barzulla and Pirbagh, respectively. Men, women and children waiting for the bodies broke down, wailing over the mortal remains as they caught the last glimpse of the slain before they were laid to rest.

After sometime, the bodies were taken out in processions to the local graveyards amidst chanting of religious verses.

The authorities had told the families to limit the gathering and bury them quickly, the officials said.

They said the bodies were laid to rest at their ancestral graveyards in Barzulla and Pirbagh after funeral prayers were held.

This is for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in March last year that the body of a person buried under police watch was returned to their kin.

The exhumation came after tremendous pressure from the families as well as mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, and civil society groups.

On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ordered a magisterial inquiry into the encounter in which four persons were killed.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the Kashmir Valley on Friday due to a strike to express solidarity with the families of the civilians killed in the Hyderpora encounter earlier this week.

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar were shut.

Public transport was largely off the roads, but private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in some areas of the city.

Similar reports of the strike being observed were received from other areas of the Valley.

The effect of the strike was accentuated by the public holiday on account of Gurupurab.

The bodies of the two civilians – Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Mudasir Gul – killed during Monday’s encounter in 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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