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Kashmir: 3 more bodies exhumed

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
February 03, 2007 23:24 IST
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Three more bodies were exhumed from graves located in north Kashmir taking the count of civilians killed by the police in fake encounters and buried as Pakistani militants to five.

The special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir police is alleged to be responsible for the murder of the innocent south Kashmir villagers for cash rewards and promotions.

The exhumations have shocked the people who are repeatedly venting their anger at the sites.

The first exhumation was carried out at the Ajas graveyard in north Kashmir Baramulla district, 40 kilometers from Srinagar in the presence of the two-member team of forensic experts from CFSL, Chandigarh and senior police and civil officials.

Three Ajas villagers said they had buried the body, which was exhumed from the graveyard on Saturday.

"I vividly remember the tattoo on the arm of the person we buried in this grave last March. Two words, G.N, were tattooed on the dead man's arm. We also buried the clothes of the dead person in the same grave," said Manzoor Ahmad.

Salima, the 35-year old wife of Ghulam Nabi Wani, who went missing from south Kashmir recognized the clothes of her husband while Zahoor Ahmad, the younger brother of Wani said his brother had got that tattoo mark engraved on his arm many years back.

Forensic experts took samples from the exhumed body and the relatives of Wani for DNA matching. The SOG had killed and buried Wani as Zulfikar of Pakistan on March 14 last year a Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander.

Another body was exhumed from another graveyard in Bazipora village, 2 kilometres away from Ajas.

It was alleged that the person interred in the exhumed grave was Showkat Ahmad Kataria, an Imam who supervised prayers in the downtown Zadibal mosque.

Noor Mohammad Kataria, the missing Imam's father was present at the time of the exhumation.

"Although no decisive identification was possible at the graveyard, Noor Mohammad recognized the photograph of his son Showkat that had been taken by the police before his burial in this graveyard," said Javed Ahmad Koul, superintendent of police, Hazratbal entrusted with the investigations into the disappearance of the Imam.

The SOG had killed him as Abu Zahid of Karachi Pakistan a top militant and handed over the body to the locals for burial on October 5, 2006.

The third exhumation was carried out at the north Kashmir Kangan town where the body of Ali Mohammad Paddar, another victim of forced disappearance and subsequent murder by the SOG was buried.

The family members of the Paddar identified the clothes he was wearing when he went missing last March. He was gunned down by the SOG and handed over to the local police as an unidentified militant for burial in Kangan graveyard on March 8 last year.

After the samples were collected for DNA testing, the body was handed over to the relatives for re-burial in their ancestral graveyard in Matigawran village in south Kashmir Anantnag district this evening.

The pro-Independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front on SAturday issued a call for a shutdown on Tuesday to register the valley's protest against the killings.
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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar