File status report: High Court directs AAG
Victims' Families Seek Re-investigation
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Dec 2: The High Court on Friday directed the Additional Advocate General to file status report regarding the investigation into killings of 19 members of three families in Surankote in Poonch district of Jammu in 1998.
“AAG, representing the respondents has been directed to file status report of the Investigation of the case,” counsel for the petitioner, Parvaiz Imroz told Greater Kashmir.
Pertinently the families of the victims have filed the petition seeking direction to the Government for reinvestigation of the case by a Special Investigation Team or Central Bureau of Investigation Team (CBI) or any other any other, to bring the accused to book.
The families have also sought directions to the State for implementing the recommendations of the State Human Rights Commission in the matter.
Counsel for the families pleaded before the Court that on intervening night of August 3 and 4 in 1998, 19 members comprising six males and 13 females of three families were killed in the house of Hussain Muhammad Sheikh with alleged “active participation” of then SSP J P Singh, Surankote, Major Gora 9 Para Rashtriya Rifiles C/O 56 APO, Sevak Singh Additional SP Poonch, SPOs Muhammad Younis alias Tiger, Muhammad Rafiq Gujjar alias Pathan, and havaldars Maqsood Ahmad and Muhammad Akbar who were posted at Police Station Poonch.
“The massacre of 19 members with age ranging from 4 years to 70 years including a pregnant woman, Zareena Begum, was reported widely in the media and Police Station Surankote had registered an FIR 122 of 98 under various criminal sections of RPC on August 4,” says the petition.
The petition states that the SHRC after taking suo- moto cognizance of the matter investigated the “carnage’”by conducting on- the- spot investigation. The Commission had presented inquiry report before the Government.
“The SHRC first published an interim report and subsequently a final report which was presented to then Chief Minister,” the petition states.
In its concluding report, the SHRC stated that that one Zakir Hussain basically a militant surrendered before the Army and was recruited as SPO who worked with the Army. “He recruited three more persons from Gujjar community and remained attached to local Army,” the report states.
The report said that a militant Imtiyaz Sheikh operating in the area was leading a group of militants there.
“Zakir Hussain along with his group in association with the Army were attempting to nab Imtiyaz, his father, Lassa Khan. On this pretext, they searched their house frequently. Five days prior to the killings, there was a rumour that Imtiyaz has come to village Sailan. Zakir Hussain with his associates might have been alert to catch Imtiyaz,” the report states.
“So the militant Imtiyaz was not only conscious of being wanted but they might have been chasing Zakir Hussain, who fell to the bullets of some unknown gunmen on at Sailna. Zakir’s Group lost its leader, army lost its trusted informer and father lost his son. While lifting Zakir’s body, Army had vowed to wipe out 20 persons before his burial,” reads the report.
“As a natural consequence of Zakir’s killing could not be ignored, moreover, the involvement of Imtiyaz and his group could not be ruled out. The facts reveal the whole family of militant Imtiyaz including his father Lassa Sheikh together with the family of Ahmad Din got brutally killed on the same night when the SPO Zakir was killed.”
“One glaring fact was noted when the bloodbath of 19 persons was going on in the house of Ahmad Din that the Army did not come to the spot, when its picket was just 200 metres away. The silence of the army over the incident was not meaningless, the uniformed persons were seen moving with torch lights around the scene of occurance,” the report said.
The report further said “though there was no direct evidence against a particular person, question doesn’t travel beyond the belief that three unnamed associate SPOs of the slain SPO, his relations joined by the security forces of the area have to shoulder the allegations of the massacre of innocent souls because the statements recorded and the expressions gathered indicated so.”
In the final report, the SHRC recommend that the Home Department should issue directions to SP Poonch to identify the three SPOs where were Zakir’s associates. It had also recommended that the Unified Command is under obligation to take stock of the occurrence where the Army personnel of the picket did not react at the time of the massacre.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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