The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday directed the Union Territory administration to allow the family of Mohammad Amir Magrey, a civilian who was killed in Srinagar’s Hyderpora gunfight in November, to perform last rites, reported Live Law.

The court, however, refused to accept the plea about exhuming the civilian’s body, reported Greater Kashmir. It said that Mohammad Amir Magrey’s father, Latief Magrey, has given up the plea to exhume the son’s body as it would have started decomposing immediately after the burial in November.

Mohammad Amir Magrey was one of the four persons killed in an operation by security forces at a commercial complex in Hyderpora on November 15. The police had identified the four persons as Pakistani militant Haider, hardware shop owner Mohammad Altaf Bhat, dentist-turned-entrepreneur Mudasir Gul and Magrey, who worked at Gul’s office.

Their bodies were not handed over to their families. On November 16, they were buried by the authorities in the Wadder Payeen graveyard in Kupwara district, around 80 kilometres from Srinagar.

While the police claimed Mohammad Amir Magrey was a militant, his family has maintained he was innocent.

Latief Magrey, had moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in December demanding that his son’s body be returned to the family so that a burial could be done according to the rituals.

However, on Monday, Magrey’s counsel Anand Grover said that his client was not pressing for his son’s body to be exhumed. He, however, wanted to perform the last rites.

On Friday, a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani also upheld the May 27 order by a single bench of the High Court to pay the family a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Latief Magrey should be reimbursed if he is forced to perform the last rites at the Wadder Payeen graveyard, the High Court said on May 27. The single bench had passed the order considering that the body might have decayed to an advanced stage and in that case could not be moved to his native village in Ramban.

On the compensation order, the division bench of Mithal and Wani observed that the government had acted unfairly.

Even if the allegation that Mohammad Amir Magrey was a militant is assumed to be true and that he gave up his rights to final rites, the government cannot deny the family the liberty to bury him as per the religious rituals, the bench said.

On May 27, the single bench had accepted Latief Magrey’s plea and directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to exhume his son’s body and send it to Ramban.

However, the Union Territory administration had opposed the order. On June 3, the division bench of Mithal and Wani had stayed the single-bench order and listed the matter for hearing on June 28.

On June 24, Latief Magrey moved the Supreme Court, challenging the stay order on the exhumation of his son’s body. On Monday, the Supreme Court directed the division bench to pass the verdict on Latif Magrey’s petition within a week.