In touching gesture, Indian Army hands over 7-year-old boy's body, recovered from stream along LoC, to Pakistan

In a humanitarian gesture, on Thursday body of a seven-year-old boy from Pakistan, which was fished out from a river in Gurez valley of Jammu and Kashmir, was handed over to the Pakistan Army.

The body of a seven-year-old boy it recovered from a stream flowing from across the Line of Control (LoC). According to Indian Express, the boy, identified as Abid Ahmad Sheikh, was a resident of Minimarg across LoC in Gilgit region. The Indian Army on Tuesday said the body was recovered from the Burzil Nala close to the LoC near Acchura village in Gurez and was handed over to the Pakistan Army near Dudhgai village on Thursday.

The boy's body was found on Tuesday when some residents of Achoora spotted the body floating down the Kishanganga river. Within hours, they came across a photo of a “missing child” on a Facebook page from Minimarg Astoor village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan. Then, they saw a video on social media of a distraught family from PoK appealing for the return of their son, Aabid, who had gone missing on Monday, reported the Indian Express. “As soon we came to know about it, we approached the Army and asked them to take up the matter with their counterparts across the border,” Bandipora Deputy Commissioner, Shabhaz Mirza, told The Indian Express.

"The Indian Army immediately swung into action and was able to establish the identity of the young boy through civil administration," the Indian Army said. "In accordance to Indian Army ethos, as a humanitarian gesture, the Indian Army established contact with the Pakistan Army on the hotline and also convinced the civil administration to facilitate handing over of the body at the earliest," it said.

But then came a twist. Fearing that the body would decompose, the Indian side wanted the handover on Wednesday from Gurez. But, Pakistan was keen on accepting the body at the official exchange point through the Teetwal crossing in Kupwara district, over 200 km away. The Pakistani Army worried because of mines dotting the area around Gurez.

But by the evening, an Indian team of government officials and Army personnel walked to the last post but found no response from the Pakistani side, after which the body was brought back. On Thursday morning, the Pakistan Army showed a positive response and the body was handed over. The body was handed over at 12.39 pm, and the Pakistan Army accepted it after identification.

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