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Virendra Paswan’s murder by Islamic terrorists and controversy around his cremation in Kashmir: What we know so far

Putul Devi has just lost her husband in a brutal terror attack. With financial instability staring in her face and six kids to feed, politicians, instead of showing empathy and compassion choose to play petty politics over the deceased.

On October 5, Virendra Paswan, who hailed from Bhagalpur, Bihar, was shot dead in Kashmir by Islamic terrorists. His mortal remains were not brought back to Bihar and were cremated in Kashmir itself. Since then, controversy has erupted around his cremation. While the government has said that the family was okay with the cremation in Kashmir, a section of media has been claiming otherwise. Shailendra Wangu, Editor-National Bureau News18 Network-Delhi and journalist Aditya Raj Kaul have published videos and tweets claiming the family wanted Paswan’s cremation to be held in Bihar and not Kashmir.

‘Wanted to see her husband’s face one last time before cremation’

Wangu shared a video byte of Putul Devi, wife of Virendra Paswan, on Saturday. In the video, Putul Devi was heard saying that she did not agree to cremation to be done in Kashmir. “I asked for the last rites to take place here at home,” she said. She further added that her husband died, and she wanted to see him for one last time, but no one helped. She said that the District Magistrate was lying that the family gave permission for the cremation in Kashmir.

Quoting Wangu’s video, Kaul wrote, “She is Putul Devi. Wife of Birender Paswan who was killed by terrorists in Srinagar. She says she didn’t want her husband’s cremation to take place in Srinagar. It was not her choice. She wanted to see his face one last time in Bihar. Busts Govt claim.”

Wangu’s tweets were quoted several times by Twitter users, journalists and ‘intellectuals’ that further fuelled the controversy.

Omar Abdullah’s tweet spreading misinformation about last rites of Paswan. Source: Twitter
Tabeenah Anjum’s tweet spreading misinformation about last rites of Paswan. Source: Twitter

The family was offered tickets and transport arrangements of mortal remains

Twitter user, Alok Bhatt, in a series of tweets, shared several videos of the wife and family members from October 6. In the video, Paswan’s brother said that they got the information about the terrorist attack via phone. They talked about the financial problems they were facing and the loan they had taken, which was being repaid by Paswan.

Block Development Officer, Tarun Keshri, had visited the family and provided immediate financial help of Rs 20,000 and promised a job for kin. Keshri said that he had arranged a ration for the family, and as they did not have the ration card, he would get it made for the family as well.

Alok Bhatt further said that things turned their course around after the visit of Congress MLA Ajit Sharma. In a video byte, Sharma alleged that the Chief Minister was not even aware of the death of a Bihari in Kashmir. He further added that the mortal remains should have been brought to Bihar rather than cremated in Kashmir.

Another video of the wife was also shared by Bhatt in which she was heard saying that they did not have money to bring Paswan’s body back to Bihar. However, this video is of a later date as Putul Devi is wearing a different saree.

While some reports and journalists claimed there was no help offered to the family, Kashmir’s mayor Junaid Azim Mattu rebutted such claims. On October 6, quoting a Twitter user who had alleged that government did not come forward to help bring back the mortal remains to Bihar, Mattu said the information shared was false. Mattu said, “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. I will be meeting his brother tomorrow. I’ve been told he is here.”

According to a report in IB Times, Mohammed Aijaz Asad, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, handed over a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh to the family under SDRF. Rs. 25,000 were given to Putul Devi from Red Cross Fund. Another Rs. 5 lakh was given to the family by Jammu and Kashmir government on October 8.

DC Srinagar presenting cheque to Paswan’s family member. Source: IB Times

The report further quoted Pawan Paswan, a relative of Virendra Paswan, saying that the decision to cremate him in Kashmir was taken after due deliberations. He added that the government offered help, but the family decided to hold cremation in Kashmir itself. In a tweet, Mattu said he would personally travel to Bhagalpur to meet the family of Paswan.

In a later tweet, Wangu shared that the state administration did offer to airlift Paswan’s body till Patna but the offer was turned down by his relatives as they could not take the body from Patna to Bhagalpur.

Putul Devi has just lost her husband in a brutal terror attack. With financial instability staring in her face and six kids to feed, politicians, instead of showing empathy and compassion choose to play petty politics over the deceased.

OpIndia tried reaching out to DC Office Srinagar but could not connect.

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