A non-local vendor, who was selling Golgappas in Lal Bazar area of Srinagar city, was shot dead on October 5 by terrorists as the targeted killings intensified in the valley. The deceased was identified as Virender Paswan, a resident of Bhagalpur in Bihar, who was living in Alamgari Bazar in Zadibal.
The local Islamic State module claimed responsibility for the brutal killing of the street hawker and even released a video on social media, which shows the terrorist walking behind Paswan and murdering him in cold blood.
Paswan was cremated at Karan Nagar cremation grounds in Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon, in which the victim's brothers and locals participated to perform the last rites. But the Bihar resident's cremation in Srinagar has become a heated topic of discussion on social media, drawing flak towards the administration for not making the necessary arrangements to fly the body to his native.
Many netizens, including journalists and activists as well as some politicians, have raised their voice in protest. Many are claiming that Paswan's family was forced to cremate the victim's body in Srinagar as they couldn't afford to take the body to Bhagalpur in Bihar. The administration was condemned for not making the transport arrangements for the deceased and his family.
As per one claim, the state administration had reportedly offered to airlift Paswan's body till Patna, which was then turned down by a relative as they could not afford to take the body from Patna Airport to Bhagalpur.
Social media is abuzz with criticism towards the J&K administration for not taking the necessary steps to support Paswan's bereaved family at a sensitive time.
International Business Times reviewed the claims made by many users, including several verified accounts on Twitter, and reached out to the administration to seek clarity on the matter.
It is worth noting that the District Administration Srinagar on Wednesday provided an ex-gratia relief of Rs 1.25 lakh to the next-of-kin of Paswan. Mohammed Aijaz Asad, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, had handed over cheques of Rs 1 lakh to the family under SDRF and Rs 25,000 under Red Cross fund to the deceased's wife Putul Devi. Separately, the J&K government provided additional relief amount of Rs 5 lakh on Friday, taking the total compensation to Rs 6.25 lakh.
Pawan Paswan, the deceased's relative in Srinagar, who's also a street hawker, had said that the family decided to do the cremation in Srinagar after due deliberations. He further said that the J&K government offered all the help and had even made arrangements to fly the body to Bihar. However, due to lack of manpower, the family decided to hold the victim's last rites in Srinagar.
Junaid Azim Mattoo, the Mayor of Srinagar, debunked the misinformation about the family not being provided the support to transport the deceased's body to his native. "I've been informed that free air tickets, as well as arrangements for the body, were offered by the District Administration but the family chose for the cremation to happen in Srinagar," Mattoo tweeted on Wednesday.
International Business Times has even reached out to DC Srinagar for a statement but at the time of publishing this copy, his response was still awaited.
Going by the facts available, it is clear that claims about Virendra Paswan's family not getting financial or any other support to take the deceased's body to his native Bhagalpur in Bihar are unfounded.