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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dead body of ‘Sikh engineer’ exhumed for DNA testing

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Apr 21: An unidentified dead body, that had been fished out from river Jhelum at Chursoo, Awantipore, earlier this week and was later suspected to be that of a missing Executive Engineer, was exhumed today for DNA fingerprinting under orders of District Magistrate of Pulwama. Exhumation was conducted by thee teams of doctors and forensic experts under the supervision of an executive magistrate besides two Police officers.

Informed sources told Early times that relatives of the missing engineer, Jagdeep Singh Bali (58), who had disappeared in mysterious circumstances on February 18th from his residence in Magarmal Bagh locality of Srinagar, had approached Deputy Commissioner of Pulwama, Shafat Noor Barlas, on Thursday with the petition that the unidentified body buried at Awantipore on Wednesday last, be exhumed for proper identification and DNA testing. The District Magistrate conceded and ordered exhumation of the body by medical and forensic experts.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, constituted a team of three doctors for this purpose. Acting on orders of the District Magistrate and SP Awantipore, Principal of Government Medical College Srinagar constituted another team of the forensic experts from Department of Forensic Medicine. Yet another team of experts came from Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) of the state Home Department.

Under the supervision of SP Awantipore, Mohammad Irshad, and SDPO Shaheed Gunj, Imtiyaz Ahmad Parray (IPS), exhumation was carried out in the afternoon today near Awantipore. Relatives of the missing engineer, including his son and one of the two daughters and wife, were reportedly present on the spot.

SDPO Shaheed Gunj, Imtiyaz Ahmad Parray, told Early Times that the teams of medical and forensic experts exhumed the body and collected necessary tissue and other samples for DNA fingerprinting. Since the family members and relatives of the missing engineer failed to conclusively identify the body as that of Jagdeep Singh Bali, the samples would be sent to an FSL outside J&K for DNA testing. Blood samples of the missing engineer’s family members were being collected for matching.

Mr Bali’s cousin, Dr A P Singh, as well as Police officials said that the body was decomposed to a large extent. Some more decomposition seemed to have set in since the burial earlier this week.

Jagdeep Singh Bali is currently posted as Executive Engineer in Monitoring Cell of PHE Department in Srinagar. The matter of his mysterious disappearance had been raked by some MLAs in recent session of Assembly. Minister of PHE, Taj Mohiuddin, had told the House that a missing report had been filed with Police Station Shergarhi and Police were searching for Mr Bali.

It was on Wednesday last that after two months, an unidentified body was spotted and recovered from The Jhelum near Chursoo, Awantipore. Presumed to be that of a Muslim, it could not be identified. Photographs of the deceased were still provided to the missing engineer’s relatives who suspected that it could be that of Mr Bali. His relatives told this newspaper that they were sure that it was that of the missing engineer but agreed that a conclusive opinion could be framed only after the post mortem and the DNA reports were available.

Two of the engineer’s relatives said that hair of the body seemed to be shaven off at certain spots and the clothes recovered were not those of Mr Bali. They said that other organs indicated that it was that of Mr Bali. According to them, body should have been preserved and embalmed in a mortuary but Police got it buried back with the argument that all mortuaries in Kashmir were packed to capacity. Police officials maintained that the body could be returned to the family only after it was scientifically established that it was that of Mr Bali.

SDPO Imtiyaz said that Police were already investigating Mr Bali’s disappearance. He said that after ascertaining cause of death, identification of the body and its hand over to the Sikh family, if it was Mr Bali’s, would be conducted later this month. He said that Police would accordingly carry out the investigation.


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