Family members of Mohammad Altaf Bhat and Mudasir Gul, who were killed in a gunfight on Monday, protest in Srinagar.. | S Irfan/PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition of Kashmiri resident Mohammed Latief Magrey, seeking handover of the body of his son who was killed in a gunfight in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area in November, Live Law reported. The court said that the government had given him a funeral according to religious rites.

Mohammad Amir Magrey was one of the four persons killed in an operation by security forces at a commercial complex in Hyderpora on November 15. The police had identified the four persons as Pakistani militant Haider, hardware shop owner Mohammad Altaf Bhat, dentist-turned-entrepreneur Mudasir Gul and Magrey, who worked at Gul’s office.

Their bodies were not handed over to their families. On November 16, they were buried by the authorities in the Wadder Payeen graveyard in Kupwara district, around 80 kilometres from Srinagar.

While the police claimed Amir Magrey was a militant, his family has maintained he was innocent.

Latief Magrey had moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in December, demanding that his son’s body be returned to the family so that a burial could be done according to the rituals. However, in July, Magrey’s counsel Anand Grover said that his client was not pressing for his son’s body to be exhumed. He only wanted to perform the last rites.

The High Court also asked the government to give the family a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

On Monday, a bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala reiterated the order about the compensation. It also said that the family must be allowed to pray at the site where Amir Magrey was buried, Live Law reported.

“After a body has been buried, it is considered to be under the custody of law,” Pardiwala said. “The interment is under the law of court. Once buried a body should not be disturbed. A court will not order the disinterment of a body unless it is shown that disinterment is in the interest of justice.”

The bench noted that the government has filed an affidavit saying that Amir Magrey was buried after performing religious rituals.

“We as a court of law respect the emotions and sentiments of the appellant as the father, however, the court of law should not decide the rights of parties considering the sentiments, but in accordance with law,” the judges said.

On June 24, Latief Magrey moved the Supreme Court, challenging the High Court’s refusal to hand over his son’s body. He also disputed the allegations that his son was a militant.

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