The body of an eight-year-old boy recovered from Kishenganga (Neelum) River in Gurez valley will be handed over to his family on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control.
The boy was found dead in the river on Tuesday a day after he was reported missing near the LoC in Minimarg area of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
A senior police official in Bandipora said that some Facebook pages operating from across the border identified the boy after his body was retrieved from Kishenganga in Achoora village of Gurez.
Reports circulating on social media identified the boy as Aabid Sheikh, son of Nazir Ahmad Sheikh of Minimarg in Gilgit-Baltistan.
A post on Facebook said that the boy had gone missing from his home on July 8 at around 11 am.
A senior official told Greater Kashmir that a process of contacting relevant people from the other side of the border was initiated.
He said that earlier it was decided that the body will be handed over to the family via Achoora border at 2 pm, but the Pakistan Army didn’t allow saying the area was laden with mines.
“The issue was taken up with the army in Gurez who took up the matter with their counterparts in PaK. Achoora was the nearest place bordering Minimarg and Gurez but Pakistan army didn’t allow, citing minefields as the reason,” he said.
The official said that the process for repatriation of the body was already underway and all legal and other formalities were completed.
“After the Pak army didn’t allow to hand over the body from Achoora border it was taken to Chorwan village, the last village in Gurez connecting with Pakistan administered Kashmir. But Pak army again refused to take the body,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Shahbaz Ahmad Mirza, said he had taken up the matter with Army in Gurez to hand over the body but Pakistan refused to take the body via Achoora border.
Mirza said that fresh attempt was made by administration and Army to hand over the body to family via Chorwan border but Pakistan Army again refused to take the body.
“Army officers, SDM and tehsildar Gurez went near the border at Chorwan to hand over the body but Pak army refused to take the body even after coming close to this side of the border. We will make another attempt tomorrow morning to hand over the body. If Pakistan army refuses to take the body it will be then buried in Gurez,” he said.
A purported video of deceased boy’s parents also surfaced on Facebook on Tuesday, appealing authorities from both sides of the border to bring it home.
Kishenganga River flows from Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir where it is known as Neelum river.
The police official said that the boy may have drowned there and his body reached Gurez with the flow of the water.