MUZAFFARABAD: Civil society activists held a candle-light protest here on Friday evening against the killing of four residents of Neelum valley by the Indian army, and urged Islamabad to use its offices for the recovery of their bodies.
Four Neelum valley residents — Zaafran, son of Ghulam Sarwar, Shahzaman, son of Mohammad Younas, Wajid Akbar, son of Ali Akbar, and Faisal Iqbal, son of Sher Zaman — went missing on July 29.
It turned out later that they had been killed by the Indian army on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC).
According to their relatives, the victims were collecting a medicinal plant — Tripatra or Barseem (Red Clove) — along the unmarked dividing line when the Indian army “arrested and took them across”.
The protest rally began at the Muzaffarabad Press Club and culminated on the main road after marching through various streets.
The demonstrators were holding placards seeking an end to killing of innocent Kashmiris by India.
“They were innocent citizens, but the Indian army arrested them from Pakistani territory and killed them in cold blood,” said Mir Adnan Rehman, one of the organisers of the march.
He regretted that Islamabad had yet to highlight this violation of the LoC.
He said Pakistan should take effective steps to get back the bodies of the victims so that they could be buried by their relatives in their ancestral areas.
Lawyer Raza Ali Khan said the Indian government and the media were launching an unending offensive against Pakistan on flimsy grounds, while Pakistan government was unable to highlight the excesses by the Indian army within the held territory as well as in areas along the LoC.
An Indian magazine, Firstpost, quoting an FIR registered in a police station in the India-held territory on July 30 on behalf of the 56-Rashtriya Rifles, disclosed that the four were killed by the army near Katwar Post late on the preceding night as “unidentified Pakistani intruders”.
The FIR recorded the army’s statement that it recovered one AK-56 assault rifle, three pistols and a 12-bore shotgun from the group.