SHRC dismisses Bhaderwah case

Srinagar: Dismissing the criminal complaint against former DGP, Kuldeep Khoda in the Bhaderwah triple murder case 1996, State Human Rights Commission has said “it can’t traverse beyond findings returned by High Court more so when matter in issue is essentially and substantially same.”

Rejecting the contention of complainants, the Commission’s division bench comprising Javed Kawoos and Rafiq Fida September 12 said, “It’ll be a sheer exercise to take matter on board that stands otherwise already disposed off by High Court, trial court of principal sessions judge Bhaderwah, National Human Rights Commission and this Commission.”

The Commission states that its chief prosecuting officer, Reyaz Ahmad submitted “once a matter is set at rest by trial court or High Court judgments, complainant can’t be allowed to agitate and re-agitate same over and again till infinity jeopardizing honour and status of most decorated and respected police chief.”

In a petition filed before Commission April 23 by Yasir Irfat of Maini Beeru-Bhaderwah whose father, Fazal Hussain Dar was one of victims, plea had been made to order fresh investigation into the incident.

Three civilians from Bhaderwah were murdered June 3, 1996 with families of victims accusing Khoda, the then DIG of Udhampur-Doda Range for crime. High Court had dismissed a petition May 29 exonerating Khoda of charges levelled against him. He had been implicated in a case by the crime branch progress report that came to light August 13 last year.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the Commission’s pronouncement, Coalition of Civil Society, coordinator Khurram Parvez said, “Judgment has been based on crime branch report prepared by accused himself when he was IGP crime branch.”

He said “no notice was served to complainant or his advocate to appear for hearing. On August 13, advocate for complainant had sought an opportunity to advance further arguments on August 22. While the request was granted, no hearing was held. Instead, Commission chose to dismiss the case.”

Parvez said families of victims had waited 16 years for justice. “By its decision, Commission has affirmed its unwillingness to look closely at facts of case and instead follow decisions of trial court, high court and NHRC.”

He added “crux of complainant’s case before the Commission was that a parallel crime branch investigation ordered into the case was never considered by the trial court, high court and NHRC. Commission was the first forum to have an opportunity to consider crime branch investigations.”

The coordinator added “this denial of justice has only deepened understanding of victim families that for crimes perpetrated on them justice is impossible under existing judicial and governmental mechanisms.”

With dismissal of the petition against Khoda, decks have been cleared for him as his name had been recommended by a panel for the post of Chief Vigilance Commissioner.