JUDICIAL PROBES FAIL TO NAIL CULPRITS
Impunity To Forces Hampers Delivery Of Justice
UMER MAQBOOL DAR
Srinagar, Aug 30: The judicial probes and commissions of inquiry ordered by successive regimes have failed to punish the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.
A look at much hyped probes in the past decade reveals that this exercise has become last resort for government after FIRs and magisterial probes fail to douse public anger in the wake of civilian killings.
The inquiry by Justice S.R. Pandian into Brakpora killings indicted three personnel of Special Operations Group of Police and four of CRPF. The commission recommended that indicted men should be tried for murder, however they were not punished till date. Nine persons were killed and scores wounded on April 3, 2000, when forces opened fire on a procession demanding an inquiry into the killing of five civilians in Pathribal by Army.
The inquiry report in Hygam killings was shocking as instead of indicting Army for murder of five civilians, the act was justified. The inquiry officer, Justice O.P. Sharma in his report justified the killings on account of road blockade, saying need to restore Srinagar-Uri road led to the incident after civil administration failed to clear the blockade.
The residents, however, rejected the findings and demanded probe by an impartial panel in the massacre, but that never happened. Five persons including two women were killed when troopers opened fire on protesters at Hygam protesting against the killing of civilian Jaleel Ahmed Shah in custody on February 15, 2001.
Following Valley wide protests against drowning of 22 kids in Wular Lake on May 30, 2006, then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ordered probe in the matter.
The inquiry officer Justice Naqshbandi blamed four Navy officials- Lt K S Nehra, officer in-charge Naval Det (Marcos) Watlab; Krishan Khulvi, boat operator; Raj Ram and Ganishan- for negligence in the boat tragedy. The inquiry officer recommended that criminal proceedings be launched against the four Navy officials and principal of the school for their negligence. Till date, guilty Navy personnel have not been charge-sheeted in the court.
The judicial probe ordered by state government in the killing of four youngsters by troopers of 33 Rashtriya Rifles in Doodhipora Handwara in 2006 is still incomplete due to non-cooperation of Army. Twenty-four villagers including an 8th class student deposed before inquiry officer Syed Tariq Ahmed Naqshbandi. After his retirement two years back, the government appointed District and Sessions Judge Kupwara to complete the inquiry. However, non-cooperation of Army is hindering the conclusion of probe.
Last year, following uproar in the valley over the rape and murder of Neelofar and Asiya in Shopain, an inquiry was ordered. The Commission of Inquiry submitted 300 pages interim report to government confirming rape and murder of the two victims.
The report further stated negligence of civil administration, police and doctors in mishandling the case leading to destruction of vital evidences. The state government took action on the report. However the findings were negated by CBI, which termed the deaths as drowning.
Legal experts and human rights activists say that it is necessary on part of the government to take action on the probes.
Senior High Court lawyer Zaffar Shah says that it is obligatory for government to take follow-up action on the reports.
“After the reports are received, a fair and transparent government which believes in the rule of law and in discharge of its constitutional obligation to its own people is required to take follow-up action. If government doesn’t do so, the act will be seen as unfavourable and unacceptable .The government would also lose its credibility and its action would be contrary to rule of law,” he said.
“Forces don’t only enjoy legal impunity here, but they also have political and moral impunity. The Centre never grants permission for prosecution of forces despite being indicted by probes,” says human rights activist Khurram Parvez.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 31 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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