DNA test to be done to probe unmarked graves: Omar

Omar also sought to dispel the notion that there were any mass graves existing in the state.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah on Tuesday announced that his government will perform
DNA profiling of the bodies buried in unmarked graves in the

"The relatives of missing persons should come forward to
give samples for DNA testing and give us a hint which area to
look for," Omar said during the discussions on a motion about
unmarked graves and the proposed Truth and Reconciliation
Commission in the state.

The motion was submitted by ruling National Conference
MLAs Mir Saifullah, Nazir Gurezi and Aijaz Jan.

Omar said DNA profiling of the people buried in the
unmarked graves, the existence of which was revealed in a
report by SHRC`s investigative wing, will take some time but
the government had no intention of hiding the truth.

"It will take time. It will not happen overnight but a
beginning can be made. It is not our intention to hide the
truth," the Chief Minister said.

He said setting up of his proposed Truth and
Reconciliation Commission could answer people`s questions
about the unmarked graves and other issues that have come up
during the 22 years of turmoil in the state.

"It will be the biggest CBM from India and Pakistan to
the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I want the two countries to
include setting up of the Commission in their dialogue
process," he said.

Omar said there are questions about the start of
militancy in the state, killing of political workers and
innocent civilians which need to be answered.

"However, till this (commission) happens, we cannot wait.

The SHRC report is under our consideration and we will not
ignore the recommendations...these will be acted upon," he

Omar also sought to dispel the notion that there were any
mass graves existing in the state.

"There are no mass graves. It is an easy word to use and
even in the SHRC report there is no mention of mass graves.

There are only few graves where two persons are buried but
none with more than two bodies," he said.

Asserting that all the missing persons were not buried in
the unmarked graves, the Chief Minister said there were many
graves in which unidentified foreign militants were buried.

"For example, there is a media report about 2,500
unmarked graves in Poonch district. According to official
information, there are 2,136 graves in Poonch. Out of these,
2,090 have foreign militants buried in them who were killed in
encounters with security forces," he said.

Omar said during the conflict over the years, militants
from 12 different countries were killed or arrested during
counter-insurgency operations. "There were people from
Chechnya, Russia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Britain.

Their families would also want to know where they are."
The Chief Minister also said that some of the persons
reported missing from various parts of the state were living
on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC).

"We had formulated a rehabilitation policy for the youth
who wanted to return home which would have brought forth the
truth. However, our neighbouring country will not allow them
to come back," he said, adding, "We will have to find a way
for their return without help from the neighbouring country".

Omar said not all the persons buried in unmarked graves
were killed by security forces as there have also been
instances where some of them were killed by militants.

"A Hizbul Mujahideen Pir Panjal Range (HMPPR) commander,
who surrendered recently, took us to a place where two
teachers killed by them were buried. The teachers were missing
for more than six years," Omar said.

The Chief Minister said his government could have wished
away the responsibility of the unmarked graves as these did
not pertain to his tenure. "Most of the unmarked graves relate
to the period between 1990 and 2006-07. While it would have
been easy for us to say we have no responsibility but our
responsibility starts from there."

Apparently referring to the mainstream political parties,
he said there would be some tough questions to answer but "we
have to be ready".

"I know that the period includes six years of our
government (1996-2002), three years of the Opposition (PDP
rule) and three years of our coalition partner (Congress-led
government)," he said.

Pointing towards BJP, Omar said the national opposition
party will also have to answer some questions as it was ruling
at the Centre at some point of time during this period.


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