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Body of 70 year 'militant' Habibullah Khan exhumed, handed to family

Srinagar: The body of a 70-year-old "terrorist" killed by the army in north Kashmir's Kupwara district was exhumed Saturday after his family refuted claims that he was a separatist guerrilla. The army said it was possible the terrorists were using him as a human shield.

Habibullah Khan, 70, a resident of Devar Lolab village in the district, was killed by the army on April 14 in the Rainawari forest area of Kupwara district. The army later issued a press release saying the slain person had been a "terrorist from whom arms and ammunition had also been recovered".

Khan's son, Raj Mohammad Khan approached the police after identifying the photograph of his father and claimed that he had been a village beggar and not a separatist guerrilla.

The son also told police that Khan would normally return to his home after four to five days, but as he did not come home this time, the family got anxious.

"The Kupwara district magistrate today ordered the exhumation of the slain person's body which was later handed over to the relatives for a proper burial", a police officer said here.

Meanwhile, army spokesman Lt.Col. J.S. Brar told media persons that it was possible that Khan had been either used by the guerrillas as "a human shield or as a guide".

"Police are investigating the matter and we have nothing more to say," he added. (IANS)

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