Body Of Soldier Abducted From J&K's Shopian Found After Year, Says Family

Shakir Manzoor Wagay's father, Ahmed Wagay, told NDTV "I have identified the body... it is my son. I identified him from his feet... his hair and also a bracelet he wore"

Rifleman Shakir Manzoor went missing from Kulgam in J&K, where his burnt car was recovered (File)

Srinagar:

A decomposed body found in a village in J&K's Kulgam this morning has been claimed as that of Rifleman Shakir Manzoor - an Army soldier missing since August 2 last year, when he was kidnapped, tortured and killed by terrorists from Shopian district.

Shakir Manzoor's father, Manzoor Ahmed Wagay, told NDTV "I have identified the body... it is my son. I identified him from his feet... his hair and also a bracelet he wore."

Police, however, have said forensic procedures, including a DNA test, were needed to confirm that the body is that of Shakir Manzoor.

The body was found by locals who informed the police.

News of the body was also circulated to Manzoor Ahmed Wagay, 56, for whom the year has have been a painful quest to find his son.

It was Mr Wagay who found his son's blood-soaked clothes days after his abduction.

For the last year he would leave his home with shovels and spades every day and return empty-handed, and the family has said the government did not help find Shakir Manzoor.

They did not even receive financial compensation.

According to official records Mr Manzoor has been listed as missing since last year - not dead. This means his family was not entitled to his salary or any compensation.

The family said they had been questioned if Mr Manzoor had joined a terrorist group.

Mr Wagay believes his son was tortured by his kidnappers because they wanted him to make such a statement, something he refused.

Months later, police said the terrorist who claimed to have killed Shakir Manzoor died in an encounter, and they did not know where the soldier's body had been dumped.

Shakir Manzoor had come home to celebrate Eid with his family.

He went missing while driving back to his camp. The following day police found his burnt car and, a few days later, his blood-soaked clothes were found in an apple orchard.

Subsequently, an audio clip surfaced with terrorists claiming responsibility. They talked about denying his family their son's body in retaliation for a government policy of not handing over bodies of local militants to their families.

Since March 2020 last year, even the bodies of civilians killed in security forces' actions have not been handed to their families due to COVID-19 protocols.