TWO MONTHS after the four terrorists were killed at the Pathankot Air Force Station, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Punjab Police will decide this week over whether to preserve the bodies further or dispose them. The decision may come as early as Thursday, but only after medical experts are consulted, officials said.
“We will most likely take a call on whether to preserve the bodies or dispose these off in a day or so. We will seek doctors’ advice on the condition of the bodies,” NIA Inspector General S K Singh told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
Authorities at the Pathankot civil hospital had recently sought shifting of the bodies from the hospital and had requested principal secretary (health) Vini Mahajan and director (health) H S Bali to take up the issue with Punjab DGP Suresh Arora.
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The bodies have been lying in the mortuary at the Pathankot civil hospital for over two months now. A special investigation team from Pakistan is scheduled to visit India in connection with the terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase. The timing of the visit, however, is yet to be decided.
NIA IG Singh said the Pakistan SIT team need not be shown the bodies. “We already have DNA samples of the bodies. So, it will not make any difference if bodies are disposed off before [the SIT team from Pakistan arrives]. However, the final call would be taken after advice from doctors about the condition of the bodies,” he said.
Vini Mahajan said DGP Suresh Arora had assured to address the issue very soon. She added that Arora had called her telling that the issue would be discussed with NIA and would be sorted out shortly.
DGP Arora was not available for comment. Pathankot SSP R K Bakshi said, “I can give the details on the issue by Saturday”. Border Range Deputy Inspector General Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said the bodies of the terrorists could be preserved as investigations were on in the case. “Since the terrorists have not been identified and if investigations require bodies to be preserved, the bodies would be preserved. There is very good technology available and hence preservation of bodies is not a problem,” he said.
The senior medical officer at the Pathankot Civil Hospital Dr Bhupinder Singh said a request to shift bodies from hospital mortuary was made due to several reasons. “We have two freezers, which can keep four bodies. For over two months now, the mortuary freezers are packed to capacity. Thrice during this time, we had to arrange freezers from local NGOs when other bodies had to be preserved. In my 18-year service, I have not seen bodies being preserved for such a long time. Though, the condition of the bodies has not turned any bad during this period, but honestly speaking I do not have the experience to tell for how long more these bodies could be preserved. Also, the summer has set in and this could also have an impact as far as issue of preserving the bodies effectively is concerned,” Dr Singh said.