396 slain persons buried still unknown
KALAROOS (KUPWARA) June 2: After the exhumation of three youth of Nadihal from grave yard here, who were killed in fake encounter by 4 Rajput regiment in Machil, and identification of another one, questions are now being raised about the claims by the security forces that rest of the 396 persons buried here are unidentified militants, killed in various encounters.Kalaroos village falls in Lolab valley and is perched between the dense mountains. This is the last big village near the Line of Control (LoC).The residents here said since the start of armed movement in valley, the Kalaroos Auqaf Committee has been performing the burial of all the persons who are shown killed on the Line of Control (LoC) in various encounters.The residents said that some of the buried men have been identified but most of them were unidentified. Code names given to them by the Army after handing them over to police is the only identification of the buried.Of more than 400 persons buried in the graveyard only four have been identified so far. Among the four are the three who were killed by army in Machil fake encounter and a youth, who was identified, last year from the identity card recovered from his possession.The caretaker of the graveyard is the local Auqaf Committee. “The exposure of killing of three men in fake encounter has exposed the functioning of the Army on the LoC,” said Ghulam Ahmad Bhat president Auqaf Committee. “We have apprehensions that army might have staged similar fake encounters in the past as well. These have come as a shock and there might be many people buried in this grave yard,” he added. Manzoor Ahmad who runs a shop near the graveyard said that in last November Army handed them three bodies for burial. “They looked like civilians from their physique. They too were brought from LoC after the killing,” Manzoor said. But their identity was not established.The residents said when the bodies of the three Nadihal youth were handed over to them, it did not seem that they were militants. “When police handed over bodies of these three boys to us for burial, we developed some suspicion as all the three bodies were clad in summer clothes and simple shoes. With fresh hair cuts and shaven faces these did not even look like militants who had spent some days in the mountains,” the residents said. “We are happy that truth has come out. Now, punishment should be given to all those who are involved in this brutal act.”Pertinently, the parents of the youth who identified their sons at the time of exhumation have demanded severe punishment for the Army officials and their sources for killing them. “We want counter insurgents and army officials who faked this encounter to be exposed. This is how some people stoop so low to earn money and promotion. We are unable to understand how innocent people are killed and dubbed as militants by the army,” they said.