Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 10:29 PM

New Delhi urged to make rule against handing over freedom fighters’ bodies to their families

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Frustrated over the massive participation of people in the funeral prayers of martyred youth in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian forces have urged New Delhi to firm up a policy against handing over bodies of freedom fighters killed in encounters to their families in an effort to prevent people from attending their funerals, which often motivates many local youths in joining the armed struggle.

According to a report published by Indian Express, officials said Jammu and Kashmir Police is also of the view that handing over of the bodies of freedom fighters shores up emotions in the area during funerals in the locality, and leads to an atmosphere that is conducive for more youths picking up the gun.

The report said that, both men and women attend these funerals, which eventually turn into charged anti-India rallies, the officials reasoned. The police are responsible for conducting formalities and handing over the body of a dead freedom fighters to his family even when he is killed in encounter with the Indian forces.

While the government of India is yet to take a decision on the issue, sources indicated that the final decision may be left with the J&K police, which will decide on a case-to-case basis on whether to pass on the body to a slain freedom fighter’s family. Authorities may decide on burying freedom fighters killed in encounters at the place nearest to the encounter site, it is learnt.

A recent study conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Police on militancy in the Valley also states that one of the final stages of youths joining the armed struggle is when a freedom fighter hailed as a martyr after getting killed becomes a hero for other youth, reported Indian Express.

The report is based on a study of 156 local youths of the Valley who have joined the armed struggle between 2010 and 2015.

According to Indian Home Ministry figures, 75 freedom fighters were killed in operations and 65 people joined the armed struggle in the Valley in the first five months of the ongoing year. Last year, 217 freedom fighters were killed in various encounters with Indian forces, according to official statistics, the report mentioned.

In 2015, 108 freedom fighters were killed in encounters with the forces, and numbers went up to 150 in 2016, the year popular commander Burhan Wani was killed, leading to a fresh wave of protests in the Valley, Indian Express reported.