Body of missing Panch recovered from orchards in J&K’s Shopian

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): The decomposed body of a Panch (panchayat member), who went missing from Srinagar on August 19, was found in an orchard at Dangam-Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district today, officials said.

The body was spotted by some locals, who informed police after which it was pulled out from the half-dug grave in an orchard. A police official said that the body was later identified as that of Nisar Ahmed Bhat, a Panch from Khonmoh area of Srinagar.

Nisar, according to his family, had gone missing on August 19, after which they registered a missing report. Police sources said that Nisar was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) in 1995 and there are around a dozen cases against him pending in various police stations.

“The body of Nisar is totally disfigured and decomposed. It took us many hours to identify him,” a police official said.

Pertinently, two days after Nisar went missing, an audio clip went viral on social media, in which an unverified voice claimed that they have killed the Panch and won’t return the body as being done by the police in case of slain militants in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Before Nisar, a Territorial Army soldier identified as Shakir Manzoor was also kidnapped by suspected militants, and later an audio clip went viral in which they claimed that they had killed the soldier and buried him. They said the TA soldier’s body won’t be given to the family in view of COVID-19.

J&K Police has stopped giving bodies of slain local militants, who die in encounters, to their families due to Covid-19. Their bodies are buried in Baramulla district of north Kashmir in presence of a magistrate.