Kashmir: Extension to Judicial Commission

Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir): The Jammu and Kashmir government on February 1 granted two month extension to the Judicial Commission probing the killing of 17 civilians during the summer unrest here last year.

A law ministry order said, “term of the Commission constituted on July 29, last year has been extended by two-months from the date of expiry of its last term that is, January 28, this year”.

Appointed on July 27, the two-member commission was initially given three months to complete the probe but law and order scenario in the valley led to two extensions. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking quashment of notification dated July 29, 2010 whereby Justice (retd) Syed Bashir-ud-Din was made the Chairman of Commission of Inquiry and Justice J P Nargotra (retd) member for holding enquiry into the killings here with effect from June 11, 2010.

Responding to a petition, the High Court has asked the commission not to submit final report without its permission. In the CMP filed by petitioners, it was submitted that despite various requests made to the Commission for issuance of extract of statements and material on the basis of which notices have been issued, the same haven’t been supplied to the petitioners. It was further stated that petitioners have been asked to face the probe without providing them with the material.

Meanwhile, High Court on January 31 admitted Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on civilian killings during the summer unrest here. The Court issued a notice to the state government directing it to submit a report within two weeks.

While hearing the petition filed by JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, a division bench comprising Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir directed the state government to file a report about status of investigations into cases registered in 17 killings by the next date of hearing and asked families of those killed during the unrest to file a statement before the court. It also directed Director General of Police to explain why First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered in only 37 out of 117 killings.

Malik on January 14 filed a PIL in High Court seeking directions to government and security forces including registering FIRs in all the 117 deaths and sought monitoring of investigation by the Court in cases where FIRs have been registered to ensure that proper evidence is collected and investigation taken to its logical conclusion. He has also sought extending the scope of the probe by the Commission of Inquiry to cover all the 117 deaths.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 15

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