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“I Ask The Government Of India To Restore My Child’s Body …” Page all

BELLOW, KOMPAS.com – In winter in Bellows, territory Kashmir controlled India, Mushtaq Ahmed shoved the ground.

He seems to have struggled to dig for the grave of his son who died in adolescence. However, not a single body was buried.

The group of people watching Ahmed were stunned. But Ahmed continued to dig up to his knees. He then stood up straight and shouted in front of the crowd watching him.

“I want my son’s body,” he roared, “I ask India to return my son’s body to me.”

Launch Associated Press (AP), police said Indian government forces shot dead Ahmed’s 16-year-old son, Athar Mushtaq along with 2 other youths.

They allegedly refused to surrender on the outskirts of Srinagar on December 30, 2020. India labels the young men as ” terrorist hard line “which opposes Indian rule.

The teenager’s family insists that they are not militants and that their son has been arbitrarily killed. So far this claim has not been proven.

According to authorities, Mushtaq was buried in a remote area about 115 kilometers from his village.

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What’s happened so far?

Under a 2020 policy, Indian authorities buried a number of “rebels” from Kashmir in unmarked graves, denying proper family funerals.

The policy boosted widespread anti-India sentiment in the disputed Kashmir region.

India has long relied on military might to maintain control of the part of Kashmir that they administer.

In that region, India has fought two wars with Pakistan who also claimed the mountainous area as their territory.

An armed uprising since 1989 against Indian control and Indian aggression has killed tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces.

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In August 2019, India revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, tightened curfews and shut down communications and arrested thousands of people, sparking outrage and economic devastation.

Since then, the authorities have enacted multiple laws and implemented policies that locals and critics consider to be part of a project of Indian colonialism.

Kashmiris for years have argued that Indian forces have targeted civilians and abused power by carrying out massive impunity.

Team Indian military have carried out gunfights and then the victims, the Kashmiri people are called militants so they can get rewards and promotions.

Athar Mushtaq’s murder came months after a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Indian military.

They claimed that their side had exceeded the limit of authority by killing 3 local men who were mistaken as Pakistani terrorists.

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Police concluded that an Indian military officer and two civilian “army sources” killed the three workers.

The victim was killed after being stripped of his identity and labeled a hardline terrorist. The military has been accused of murder.

The fear and anger of Kashmiris over such incidents has exacerbated India’s new policy of not identifying those killed and refusing to return the victims’ bodies to their families.

Authorities say the policy is aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, but human rights activists and residents of Kashmir say it is the government’s attempt to avoid large burials that fuel more hatred against India.

“Not returning the bodies of those who were killed is an insult to humanity,” said Zareef Ahmed Zareef, a prominent civil rights campaigner and poet from Kashmir.

Many Kashmiri civilians have called on the Indian government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist rule, to allow proper burials for their relatives who were killed under the Muslim faith.

However, the request was repeatedly rejected.

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Families of victims sometimes secretly visit the graves of their relatives in remote areas and mark the graves themselves.

Returning to Ahmed, he heard the news of his beloved son’s death on 30 December. He hurried to the place where his son would be buried, in a remote mountain.

Along the way, he was stopped several times but Ahmed still begged the Indian team to let him see his son’s face for the last time, Ahmed told AP. When the man finally arrived at the location that would become his son’s grave, he was devastated.

Ahmed said the grave site had been excavated by grinding, not traditional excavation, which generally uses a shovel and is marked with a marble headstone.

“It was not a grave but a hole that was dug quickly,” said Ahmed. “I myself lowered my child into the hole.”

Experts and rights activists say refusing to return the body to the victim’s family is a crime.

“This is a direct violation of international law and against the Geneva Conventions,” said Parvez Imroz, a prominent human rights lawyer. “It’s even against local law.”

Also read: Before the UN, Pakistan Warns of Genocide in Kashmir


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