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India hands over body of 7-year-old PoK boy to Pak

The Tribune 2019-07-12 06:52:00

For a change, camaraderie replaced hostilities on the Line of Control (LoC) after the Army handed over the body of a child, which had flown into a river at this side of Jammu and Kashmir, to the Pakistan army as a goodwill gesture.

Seven-year-old Abid Shaikh, a resident of a village in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), had reportedly drowned in a river and his body was fished out in the Gurez setor of Bandipora district on July 9. After efforts for three days by the Indian authorities, the body was handed to Pakistan on Thursday in Gurez.

“In this particular case, instead of returning the mortal remains at the official exchange places like Teetwal, we returned it in the same area so that the mortal remains do not get decomposed. It was a humanitarian gesture,” General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, said. “The body was handed over with full respect and religious rites. A maulvi ji (religious preacher) was there,” he added.

The body of the child was seen by two women in Burzil Nar, a fast-flowing stream that culminates in the Kishanganga river. The Army and civil authorities immediately retrieved the body and made efforts to identify it.

“As no villager from this side claimed the body, a contact was established on the other side of the LoC. The PoK side informed the Army that a boy has been missing from the area of Kamri in Gilgit-Baltistan,” an Army officer said. The Army again contacted the Pakistani army and asked it to take back the body.

On Thursday, a physical contact was established along the LoC between the two armies in the Gurez sector for the first time. The LoC in the Gurez sector has remained a constant battlefield over the past nearly three decades as it is one of the key infiltration routes for the militants.

After the PoK boy went missing, his family had also made an appeal through the social media and urged the authorities on both sides to help trace their son.

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