Thirteen months and 21 days after Rifleman Shakir Manzoor was killed, the fallen soldier was given a final salute and his funeral with military honors took his father – Manzoor Ahmed Wage – a year to find the body of his missing son. Closed after search.
Hundreds of villagers attended the funeral ceremony of the army. When the dead body reached Shakir Manzoor’s native village, he became emotional.
For more than a year his father would leave the house with shovels and shovels every morning in an attempt to find his son’s body. He always returned empty handed.
Wage eventually identified it as his missing son, who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Shopian district on August 2 last year.
As senior army officers offered their condolences, Wage told a commander that he and his son were suspected of having terrorism links after Shakir went missing.
He told the commander that he was living with the stigma till yesterday when the body was found.
“I thank God the body was recovered. I was living with a stigma. Whenever I would go to the police and ask them about my son, they would say, ‘I don’t know… he is Pakistan. I may, may have joined terrorists’,” he told NB.
He said, “On hearing this I would cry and return home. It is very sad that I lost my son but I am happy today that the stigma is gone. No one will trust me.”
A few days after the kidnapping, Wage finds Shakir’s blood-soaked clothes in a garden. Since then it has been a tough test. The family said that there was no help from the government and no one came from the administration or the army.
Farmer Wage, 56, said he knew his son’s killers – they were terrorists who tortured and killed him because they wanted to extract a statement he refused to give.
After months of silence, the police had said that the terrorist who claimed to have killed Shakir was himself killed in an encounter. There is no clue about Shakir’s body, he said.
The whole Wage asked his son to be recognized as a man who laid down his life for the country.
Officially, however, Shakir remained listed as ‘missing’ and not ‘dead’ until his body was recovered. This meant that his family could not get his salary or the compensation paid to the families of the martyred soldiers.
Shakir Manzoor had come home to celebrate Eid with his family.
He went missing on his way back to his camp. The next day the police found his burnt car and a few days later his blood-soaked clothes were found in an apple orchard.
Following this, an audio clip surfaced in which the terrorists claimed responsibility. He spoke of his family’s refusal to hand over the body of his son to his family in retaliation for the government policy of not handing over the bodies of local terrorists to their families.
Since March 2020 last year, even bodies of civilians killed in action by security forces have not been handed over to their families due to COVID-19 protocols.