Missing school driver’s body fished out in Bandipora

Bandipora, Nov 4: The body of a man missing for eight days was spotted floating in a stream in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Saturday, triggering hue and cry in the area.

Manzoor Ahmad Lone, 28, a school bus driver by profession from Paribal village in Hajin, was last seen by his brother in the family’s orchard on October 26 evening and there were no traces of him until Saturday.

“We searched in the forest, river, and every area we could to locate him, but we had no success,” said Sarpanch Farooq Ahmad, who is also the president of Gousia Sumo Stand Hajin.

Even though the Police launched a search operation with the help of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) a few days ago, there was no success in tracing him out.

However, on Saturday morning, the family suddenly received a call from a fisherman from Nichair in the nearby Banyari village.

“He asked us to come and identify a body retrieved from a Nallah,” the family said. Soon after, Police rushed to the spot along with the family, who confirmed his identity.

Manzoor, as per his relatives, would ferry school children and was registered at Gousia Sumo Stand in Hajin as a passenger cab driver.

“He mostly ferried school children,” a colleague said. “However on a holiday, he didn’t arrive at the stand.” Manzoor had also taken the cow along to the orchard where he had been doing some work.

His brother had told him to return home but he asked him to take the cow and that he would arrive a little while after. But he never returned.

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“The family suspects it was a murder,” Hilal Ahmad, a cousin of Manzoor said.

“The doctors at CHC Hajin where his body was taken for postmortem have not found any evidence of torture or physical injuries on his body and the case is likely a drowning incident pending the FSL report,” officials said.

Following the medico-legal formalities, when Manzoor’s body was taken to his home, there was an emotional outburst with women crying inconsolably and beating their chests.

On Thursday, a missing 26-year-old woman identified as Waheeda Bano from nearby Saderkoot Payeen village was also found dead.

According to locals, the woman had been missing for three days. Police are meanwhile investigating both cases separately.

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