Finally, my dead son proved to be a soldier: jawan’s father

Army approaches family in Kulgam’s Harmain village and decides to bury him with military honours

Buried 13 months after militants abducted and killed 24-year-old Army jawan Shakir Manzoor in south Kashmir, his father, Manzoor Ahmad Wagay, on Thursday said the funeral had brought a closure to him as “finally it was proven my son was a soldier and not a militant”.

“Since my son went missing on August 2, 2020, I have been knocking on the doors of police offices. I was told what if my son was in Pakistan [and became a militant]. Finally, it was proven he was a soldier and killed by militants,” Mr. Wagay stated. He identified his son’s body on Wednesday, after it was spotted in a village in Kulgam in a decomposed stater. He was able to recognise the hair, tooth and bangle of his son.

“The body was taken to Srinagar and the doctors too confirmed that the body looked like that of a 24-year-old youth. Later, I was handed over the body,” he remarked. “I am thankful to god that my son’s body was recovered.”

Mr. Wagay had been searching unnamed graves, orchards and open fields in south Kashmir in the past 13 months to locate his son.

Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the Army approached the family in Kulgam’s Harmain village and decided to bury him with military honours. A large number of locals, who were wailing, and Army men participated in the final rites.

GOC Victor Force Major General Resham Bali, Commander 12 Sector Brig. N.S. Grewal, Commander 2 Sector Brig. A.S Pundir also joined the locals during the final rites and paid tributes at the deceased soldier’s native place.

Defence spokesman Colonel Emron Musavi added the General Officer Command Chinar Corps Lieutenant General D. P. Pandey and all the ranks laid wreaths on the mortal remains of the braveheart at the Chinar Corps War Memorial.

According to the Army, Shakir Manzoor’s burnt vehicle was found at Rambhama, Kulgam, after a comprehensive search in 2020. “However, despite persistent efforts, he could not be traced. Some anti-national social media accounts had alleged his body had been deliberately buried at an unidentified location,” the Army stated.

The spokesman stressed that the soldier was on bonafide military duty at Balapur, Shopian, on Aug 2, 2020, when he went missing. “The mortal remains were laid to rest with full military honours. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and remains committed to their dignity and well-being.”

Militants’ claim

Some social media accounts run by militants claimed that the body was buried at an unidentified location in retaliation to the security forces’ new policy of not handing over the body of local militants to their families.

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