The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday collected DNA samples of seven families who claimed they are related to the five suspected militants killed in an encounter in Bandipora district last week, reported Greater Kashmir.

The bodies of the militants have been claimed by two families each from Kupwara and Pulwama, and one each from Shopian, Kulgam and Kangan, said Senior Superintendent of Police, Bandipora, Sheikh Zulfikar Azad. The body of one of the militants identified as Parvaiz alias Maviya has been claimed by two families, from Kagan and Pulwama.

An unidentified police official said the DNA samples will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory on Friday. The samples of the five militants are already with the institute.

The bodies of the militants will be handed over to their families only after the police receive the laboratory reports on both sets of the DNA samples, said Azad.

The five suspected militants were killed in a two-day encounter, which started on September 20 when the Army, the state police, and the Central Reserve Police Force carried out a cordon and search operation at Shukbaba.

The police, who were able to retrieve their bodies, denied reports that local militants were killed in the operation and buried in Uri. However, the Hizbul Mujahideen later issued a statement claiming that those killed in the encounter were local militants. They were identified as Hyder Ali from Brazul Kulgam, Muhammad Umar from Shopian, Mohammad Siddiq from Bandipora, Maviya from Kangan, and Usman from Lolab.

After the statement, the seven families came forward to claim the bodies.