Hyderpora Encounter | High Court orders Rs 5 lakh compensation to Amir’s family

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar, July 1: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Friday directed the government to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family of Amir Latief Magrey, one of the four persons killed in an “encounter” at the Hyderpora area of Srinagar last year.

Disposing of the government’s appeal against its single bench judgment, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani asked the appellants (the government) to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh awarded by the single judge bench to Amir's father, Muhammad Latief Magrey.

However, the court made it clear that the payment of compensation by the government to Amir’s father should not form precedence in the future considering that the compensation was awarded to Magrey given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

The court also asked the officials to allow Amir’s father and his family members “maximum of 10 persons” to perform Fatiha Khawani (religious rituals and prayers after burial) of the deceased at Wadder Payeen graveyard in Kupwara on the date and time to be decided in consultation with Magrey.

However, the court said that this was “subject to taking into account security measures which may be required to be put in place and also COVID-19 guidelines”.

Meanwhile, the court declined the family’s prayers to allow them to see the face of the deceased.

“The prayer of counsel (Deepika Singh Rajawat) for respondent Muhammad Latief Magrey made during arguments that Magrey and his family members be permitted to see the face of the deceased by opening the grave of the deceased cannot be accepted and permitted, firstly, given pleading of writ petitioner Magrey that the body would start decomposing immediately after burial, and secondly given the statement made by Magrey before the apex court while giving up the prayer of exhumation of the body of the deceased,” the court said.

The court had reserved the verdict on June 29 after hearing Advocate General D C Raina for the government and Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat on behalf of Amir's father.

The bench reserved its decision on the appeal two days after a vacation bench of the Supreme Court requested the High Court to consider the plea for the grant of compensation to Magrey for the death of his son.

The apex court bench took note of the submission of senior Advocate Anand Grover on behalf of Magrey that now he does want to press for the first relief that the body is allowed to be exhumed for performing last religious rites at the family graveyard.

However, Magrey submitted before the Supreme Court that he wanted to perform the last rites as per the religious practices at the Wadder Payeen graveyard in Kupwara where his son was buried.

On June 3, a division bench of the High Court stayed the single bench’s decision of May 27 ordering the exhumation of Amir's body from the Wadder Payeen graveyard.

The single-judge bench had observed, “The State cannot deny constitutional rights in the name of preventing law and order situation getting out of hand.”

The court had also asked the government to make appropriate arrangements for transportation of Amir’s body to the native village of Thatharka Seripora in the tehsil Gool area of Ramban district with “promptitude and without wasting any further time”.

“If the body was highly petrified, in that situation the State shall pay to Amir’s father a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for deprivation of his right to have the body of his son and give him decent burial as per family traditions, religious obligations, and faith which the deceased professed when he was alive,” the court had said.

The bodies of two other persons, Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Dr Mudasir Gul, who were killed in the Hyderpora “encounter” were exhumed and returned to the families following an outcry days after the gunfight on November 15, 2021.

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