Human Rights

Rights violation in Kashmir: in seven years only 12 inquiry findings

By Majid Jahangir

In the troubled state of Jammu & Kashmir many cases of human rights violation have taken place in the past seven years. The affected people are still waiting for justice. Despite the fact that four regimes have come and gone in these seven years, only seven cases of human rights violation out of a total of 119, showed results. In the past two decades of uncertain atmosphere, innumerable cases of rights abuse have been reported in the state, but inquires into these cases are still a matter of regret.

Constituting Commissions and committees time and again by the governments have failed to deliver. Such official initiatives were mostly unsuccessful and turned out to be mere waste of time.

One hundred and nineteen enquiries have been ordered since the formation of Congress-PDP coalition government (2004-2008), and the new alliance of National Conference and Congress in 2008 but only 12 have been proved conclusive.

During 2005-2007, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's regime ordered enquires into 77 cases of human rights violation, but only 6 probes brought some results. The PDP-led government carried out enquires aimed at bringing out the facts about killings, rapes, disappearances and other human rights violations by the security forces. Available reports suggest that 19 cases of custodial killings, six fake encounters, one enforced disappearance, four rapes, and 31 odd incidents of killing of innocent civilians by the security forces had taken place, which include three different incidents of killing of civilians used as human shields during counter-insurgency operations.

Custodial Killing: In Mufti Sayeed's regime the first case initiated for enquiry was of Abdul Hamid Wani 45, who was killed in custody. After his arrest by the Nowgam police on November 28, 2002 the enquiry established that the police killed him on 2 December 2002. and termed it as a case of suicide. Inquiry carried out by Assistant Commissioner Revenue Budgam who was an enquiry officer to the District Magistrate Budgam declined to accept the police version and further stated that Wani was wrongly implicated by the police. Although, the accused SHO was initially suspended, he was later reinstated with promotion. 

The Enquiry Commission also found that Javied Ahmed Magary, a 12th class student of Soitag Lasjan was killed on May 1, 2003, in which an army Subedar S Sinha and his associates were found guilty. This was the first case during the Mufti regime when an army jawan was found guilty and was indicted. According to the enquiry report submitted on August 8, 2003, Javied was never found in any militant activity nor was he linked with any militant group. He was murdered in cold blood. Despite this unequivocal indictment, no punishment has been given to the accused till date.

Enquiry into the rape case of mother-daughter due, Aishiya Begum 29, and Shabnam 10, which took place in Bader Payeen Handwara on November 6, 2004, showed that the accused was army major, Rehman of 30 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) Army. The State government initiated two separate probes into the case. 

And hence the army officer was dismissed from service. A magisterial enquiry into the incident found Major Rahman guilty of rape of women and molestation of her daughter. Strangely an enquiry ordered by the army said that "Allegations against the Major are baseless because DNA test had failed to prove him guilty." He has, however, been found guilty of outraging the modesty of 10-year-old Shabnam and of using criminal force against Gulam Nabi Dar, brother of Shabnam.

On December 20, 2004, in Sallar Anantnag, 60-year-old woman Haqeem Jan allegedly raped by non-commissioned army officer Lance Hawildar Krishna Bahadur of 3, Rajputana Rifles. Army officials claimed to have dismissed the guilty officer from service and was awarded one-year rigorous imprisonment.

On 8 August, 2005, the Border Security force (BSF), claimed to have ordered Court Martial of its soldier Kapil Dev whom the Court of Inquiry found guilty killing three relatives of a surrendered militant.

Probe initiated by the state government into the alleged custodial death of Shabir Ahmed Pir of Sirhama Handwara in 2003 found the allegation as false.

After becoming Chief Minister, Gulam Nabi Azad of Congress, in 2002, six custodial killings, six fake encounters, one extra judicial killing by security forces and the infamous Wullar Lake boat tragedy, in which 22 school children and staff members of the school had been killed on May 30, 2006 due to the negligence of Navy officials were reported during his three year rule.

The inquiry ordered by the state government into the Wallur tragedy indicted four officials of Navy: K S Nehra, officer in charge Naval Det, (Marcos), Watlab; Krishan Khulvi, boat operator; Raj Ram and Ganishanor of negligence resulting in the boat tragedy.

Probe was ordered into the killing of former Minister of State for Education Dr Gulam Nabi Lone who was killed by unidentified gunmen at his official residence in high security zone Tulsi Bagh Srinagar on 18 October, 2005. The probe order was given by state government to the then Divisional Commissioner B B Viyas. In his report he stated that there was a security lapse but not "political conspiracy" behind Lone's murder. The report submitted by Divisional Commissioner was not accepted by Shoaib Lone, son of former minister.. After putting tremendous pressure by opposition parties, state government ordered  CBI to probe the killing of Lone.

During the short term of governor's role in the state __ from July 7, 2007 to 5 January, 2009, __ as many as six probes were ordered of which only one report could prove the allegations. The probes were ordered into the rape of a teenager by 36 RR, desecration of Peer Dastageer Sahib shrine in Srinagar by CRPF personnel and for three cases of killings by security forces.

The National Conference led coalition government in the state which came to power in January, 2009, has ordered eight probes of which only three have proved conclusive. Four incidents of killings at the hands of security forces have taken place since.

An inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah proved that CRPF personnel were indicted for beating of people and looting of residential house in Saraf Kadal, Srinagar on 16 January, 2009.

In another incident of killing, army of 22 RR, who killed two youths Muhammad Amin Tantray of Bomie and Javied Ahmed Dar of Muslim Peer Sopore at Bomia Sopore on 21 February were indicted in inquiry report.

Killing of a carpenter namely Ghulam Mohi-u-din Malik of Pakharpora Pulwama by CRPF men of 181 battalion was reported in March 2009. The inquiry report established that for the murder CRPF Company was involved.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2009 on page no. 11

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