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2021 Hyderpora Encounter: HC directs exhumation, handing over of remains of third slain to family for decent burial

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Srinagar: Holding that the right to life with human dignity extends even after death, the High Court Friday directed the J&K government to allow decent burial to Mohammad Amir Magrey killed in an encounter on 15th of November 2021 at Hyderpora. .
Magrey was amongst four persons killed in an encounter by state forces in the city outskirts. The police had claimed that slain included a Pakistani terrorist and three local militant associates.
The dead according to Police included a foreign terrorist Bilal Bhai alis Hyder of Pakistan, Aamir Latief Magrey son of Mohammad Lateef Magrey of Gool Ramban Jammu, Altaf Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Rehman Bhat of Old Barzulla Srinagar and Dr Mudasir Gull son of Ghulam Mohammad Rather of Parraypora Srinagar.
The four dead bodies were not handed over to their relatives and were taken to Wadder Payeen North Kashmir for burial.
After much public outcry the government had exhumed the bodies of Dr Mudasir Gull and Altaf Ahmad and handed over to their relatives for performing their last rites at their ancestral graveyards.
However, the body of Amir Latief Magrey was not handed over to his father Mohammad Latief Magrey. He filed a petition in the J&K High Court praying for handing over the body of his slain son for burial according to his religious faith.
The petitioner father told the court “I am totally unconvinced with the respondents’ (authorities’) claim that Amir was a militant”.
“The authorities have very conveniently put the tag of terrorist on my son and have denied even decent burial to him”, he told the court through advocate D S Rajawat.
“If, for any reason, the return of dead body of terrorist like the son of the petitioner, is considered, not only it will send wrong message in the society but it would also lead to greater law and order and security concerns”, assistant solicitor general of India, T M Shamsi and additional advocate general of J&K Asifa Padroo argued.
“This right to live with human dignity even extends after death though in a limited extent”, Justice Sajeev Kumar said after hearing the contenders.
The judge did not find any logic in distinction made by the State that junior Magray was a confirmed terrorist whereas the other two killed were only associates of the terrorists.
“The action of the respondents is not traceable to any procedure established by law which is just, fair and equitable. At least none was brought to the notice of this court”, he said.
He held the decision by the State not to allow the petitioner to take away dead body of his son to his native village for last rites as arbitrary. It falls foul of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, the judge observed.
He held the apprehension of law and order getting vitiated in that event as illusory.
Justice Kumar directed the State “to make arrangements for exhumation of the body (remains) of the deceased Amir Latief Magrey from North Kashmir graveyard in presence of the petitioner (father)”.
He directed appropriate arrangement for transportation of the dead body to its village.
“Burial be accorded to the body in his native graveyard in accordance with the traditions, religious obligations,” he ruled.
Since the dead body of the deceased must be in advance stage of putrefaction, as such, it would be desirable that the respondents act with promptitude and do not waste any further time, directed the court.

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