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Shopian families who claimed bodies of 2 slain militants now asked to provide DNA samples

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Representational image of Army personnel during an encounter in Shopian | File photo: ANI
Representational image of Army personnel during an encounter in Shopian | File photo: ANI


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Srinagar: Tensions are simmering in parts of Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian region over the government’s decision to bury two Hizbul Mujahideen militants suspected to be locals instead of handing over their bodies to their kin. The union territory administration has now asked two families who had come forward to claim the bodies to provide DNA samples so that their identities can be confirmed.

The militants were killed in a gun battle with security forces in the Dairoo area of Shopian in south Kashmir Friday. The security forces included personnel from the CRPF, Rashtriya Rifles and J&K Police’s Special Operations Group.

Two families from Shopian had come forward to claim the bodies, but they were deemed “unidentified” and buried. But the families were issued curfew passes Sunday so that they could submit the DNA samples in Baramulla Monday, a senior government official told ThePrint, requesting anonymity.

The family of one of the militants suspected to have been killed, Raheel Hamid, also confirmed the development. “They have given permission to one driver and two other family members and asked us to reach police lines in Baramulla to undergo testing,” said Ghulam Nabi, Hamid’s uncle. “We just want to see them once last time and bury them in peace.”


Also read: Many in J&K’s Sopore booked for lockdown violation as they attend Jaish militant’s funeral


The usual practice

Officials generally confirm the identities of militants within hours of an encounter. If the slain militants turn out to be locals, their bodies are handed over to their families, following medical examination. If they are foreign militants, authorities bury them in graveyards designated for foreign, unclaimed and unidentified militants.

In this case, the police Friday buried the “unidentified” bodies in Sheeri, Baramulla, where mostly foreign militants are buried.

How families got the news

The families began hearing rumours about the encounter while it was still on, and residents heard the militants were locals from Ganavpora and Bongam villages. This resulted in minor clashes.

But the other militant supposedly killed in the encounter, Asif Dar, managed to call his family to bid goodbye during the gun battle, according to reports.

Hamid’s family reached out to the local police to confirm the identities of the slain militants. His uncle Nabi said the family checked with the Shopian police station, and claimed that local police officials confirmed to them that Hamid and Asif Dar were the militants killed.

The families then approached the district magistrate’s office, but were turned back by officials guarding the main gate, who told them to wait for the bodies at their respective homes, Nabi said.

Late Friday evening, the militants were buried in Baramulla, leading to further tensions in the villages of the two men supposedly killed, leading to further minor clashes Friday and Saturday.


Also read: Why Kashmir’s new militant outfit, ‘Lashkar offshoot’, signals possible escalation of violence


FIR for violating lockdown

An FIR was filed against unnamed individuals who had gathered outside government offices, raising further speculation that the police might take action against the families, because they too had gathered there.

However, south Kashmir Atul Kumar Goel denied that FIRs were filed against the families.

“The claim made by some news outlets that FIRs have been filed against the families is wrong. We filed several FIRs against people who broke the lockdown,” Goel told ThePrint.

A police source, though, added that even though the FIR did not name anyone, it was likely that family members of the militants could have been interviewed, as they too had flouted the lockdown rules.

What happens next?

The authorities’ decision to issue curfew passes to the families seems to have cooled things down a bit, but the question remains whether the families will be allowed to exhume the bodies if their DNA samples match the buried militants’.

The families are also clueless about whether they can visit the graves after they submit their DNA samples.

Baramulla SSP Abdul Qayoom said according to the standard operating procedure, the families will have to approach the Baramulla district magistrate with all their requests. The DM will direct the police to take subsequent steps, which may include a visit to the graveyard.

“A decision on whether to exhume the bodies or not will be taken after DNA samples from the bodies and those submitted to authorities Monday are matched. For other requests, the family has to approach the DM,” said Qayoom.

Sources, however, added that the police may allow the families to offer prayers in Sheeri.


Also read: Mumbai watchman’s bid to cycle to J&K pays off, CRPF unites him with ailing father


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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