Friday, April 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bodies of 5 youths exhumed
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, April 6 — The bodies of five youths who were slain in the encounter with the security forces at Pathri Bal in Anantnag district were exhumed today.

Three of the bodies were shown to the relatives who are said to have told the police that the clothes they had retrieved from the site of the encounter confirmed that those killed were not militants but five youths who had been missing since the last 10 days.

The state authorities did not accept the version of the relatives and said that the matter would be resolved only after the DNA test was performed.

Reports reaching here said there was a lot of tension in the areas and additional security forces had been deployed to maintain law and order.

People had contested the claim of the security forces that the five youths killed in Pathri Bal were militants who had carried out the killing of 35 Sikhs in village Chatti Singhpora. It was under massive public demonstration and pandemonium in the Assembly that the state Government decided to exhume the bodies and carry out the DNA test.

The Director-General Police, Mr Gurbachan Jagat, told Tribune News Service this late evening that the doctors did not accept the claim of the people that the two exhumed bodies were those of the missing youths.

He said both the bodies were completely charred and it was very difficult to identify them. The doctors did not accept the plea that the pieces of garments they had collected belonged to the slain youths. After the verdict of the doctors the two bodies were buried again.

The three bodies exhumed would be shown to the people tomorrow. Without the DNA test the version of the people would not be accepted by the state government, added Mr Jagat.

According to a UNI report from Anantnag, the relatives of Juma Khan, one of the five persons killed by the Army and the Special Operation Group of Jammu and Kashmir on March 25 identified his body while relatives of Zahoor Ahmad Dalal identified his clothes.

Juma Khan’s body was identified by his wife and son. The five persons went missing soon after 35 Sikhs were massacred at Chatti Singhpora on March 20.

Juma Khan’s other son was among eight persons killed in SOG and CRPF firing on a procession at Barakpora on April 3.

The relative of Zahoor Ahmad Dalal, who was also missing after his arrest, said the clothes recovered from the grave belonged to him.

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