‘Get sanction from Centre against accused personnel’
SHRC Asks State Government
ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF SOPORE MAN
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Nov 27: Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the State Government to obtain sanction from Centre for prosecution of the personnel of paramilitary CRPF allegedly involved in custodial disappearance of a civilian of Apple Town Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in 1990
The Commission gave the direction in the case of Khursheed Ahmad Bhat of New Colony Sopore who was allegedly subjected to custodial disappearance on September 5, 1990. In his judgment, the member SHRC, Abdul Rashid Khan has expressed resentment over delay in according sanction for prosecution by the Centre against the accused personnel. He has asked the State Government through Chief Secretary to obtain the sanction from Centre to pave way for initiating criminal proceedings against the accused.
Pertinently, by virtue of AFSPA, no legal proceeding can be brought against any member of the armed forces without sanction of the Central Government.
The judgment states that the Commission had taken suo-motto cognizance of a report that personnel of 50th battalion of CRPF had whisked Khurshid Ahmad Bhat to Jagir Camp at Sopore on September 25, 1990 and since then his whereabouts are not known.
The Commission quoting a report of Sopore Police Station stated that Khurshid was running a shop named ‘Light and Sound’ at Iqbal Marker Sopore and was lifted by CRPF from his shop at 11 am on the fateful day. It states that Police had registered an FIR no 258/1990 under section 365, 346 RPC at Sopore Police Station and started investigation. During investigation, statement of nine witnesses mostly shopkeepers of the area was recorded. “The witnesses deposed that the personnel from 50th Batallion of CRPF led by two officers Dy SPs Lakha Singh and Manmohan Sharma alias Moni Singh forcibly entered his shop and lifted him. They forced him to enter into their vehicle (DL/1714) and took him to CRPF camp located at Fruit Mandi Sopore,” the judgment stated.
It said that when Khurshid’s relatives had approached the CRPF camp, they were assured that he will be released. But the assurances turned to a hoax.
The Commission stated that the witnesses, who were kept in custody with Khursheed acknowledged that he was brought to the camp on the fateful day.
“They deposed that the Commandant of the battalion Kripal Singh with ASI Ram Chande alias Chaha and Constable Gabbar Singh tortured Khurshid severely in their presence due to which he was not even in a position to stand on his legs. He was then dragged to another room in a critical condition where he was further beaten and tortured,” the judgment states.
“From the perusal of the police report and other material facts on the file, it has been established beyond any about that Khurshid was lifted by personnel of 50th battalion of CRPF and died in their custody. The case of enforced disappearance has been proved against the accused personnel under section 365 and 34. The case was sent to the higher authorities on November 11, 1995 for accord of sanction for prosecution. However, the sanction has not been accorded by the competent authority even after lapse of more than 16 years,” the judgment states.
It states that the prosecution has opined that as per the section 108, 114 of the Evidence Act, there is no possibility of Khurshid being alive. “Even his dead body has not been handed over to legal heirs for performing last rites,”
The Commission recommended to the Government through Chief Secretary that necessary sanction for prosecution against the accused must be accorded from the competent authorities in Centre immediately.
“After the sanction for prosecution is received and other formalities are completed, the challan of the case should be presented before the Court of law against the accused personnel,” it added.
The Commission also recommended grant of benefits under SRO-43 to the victim’s eligible family member.
Incidentally, many cases, in which the Commission has established the involvement of armed forces including Chattinisighpora, Panchathalan and Brakpora massacres, Kunanposhora and Handwara rapes, are pending from years together due to want of sanction from the Centre.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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