CISF resorted to unprovoked firing: Report
‘Protesters Were Peaceful’
UMER MAQBOOL DAR
Srinagar, July 20: Contradicting Central Industrial Security Force theory, the magisterial inquiry ordered by Jammu and Kashmir Government has indicted the paramilitary force of resorting to unwarranted and disproportionate force that lead to the killing of Altaf Ahmad Sood in Boniyar, Uri, in north Kashmir on January 1 this year. The CISF men had opened fire on local residents demanding proper electricity in the area, killing a youth and injuring two others.
While rejecting the claim of CISF that protesters resorted to arson or gate-crashed on the fateful day, the inquiry by Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla has held the paramilitary force responsible for violating Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Ironically, police have not charged the CISF personnel with murder.
“In my opinion, CISF personnel guarding the NHPC Barrage Complex have violated the SOP and have resorted to excessive use of force which was unwarranted and disproportionate to the action from the protesters. The situation that arose could have been avoided had the CISF personnel shown restraint. As a result of the action by the CISF personnel one innocent life was lost,” reads the inquiry report, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir.
Following protests against the killing of Altaf Ahmad Sood, Jammu and Kashmir Government had ordered a magisterial probe.
“Even if there was threat perception they (CISF) could have informed SDM Uri or Tehsildar Uri who were at stone’s throw and could have also asked the local police to take control of the situation. However, CISF personnel without following the SOP opened fire on peaceful protesters that too without any provocation and without warning the protesters. This inference is corroborated by the visit to Barrage Complex as there are no signs of arson or gate-crash nor has any building or structure been burnt that could have prompted the CISF personnel to react such forcefully,” the report adds.
The report further says that version put forth by CISF personnel that they resorted to aerial firing is negated by the type of injuries inflicted upon the deceased and two injured persons.
“The type of injuries proved that the fire arms were aimed at the protesters although there was no such need as the protesters had not resorted to any sort of violence that could have prompted the CISF personnel to react with such a quantum of force,” the report says. It said the version put forth by CISF personnel that they resorted to firing in self-defence and that too inside the Barrage Complex is negated by the photograph wherein the CISF personnel could be seen in an aggressive posture with their weapons on the National Highway, about 100 feet away from the Barrage Complex gate.
While further incriminating the CISF personnel, the report says, “The version of CISF is also negated by the fact that the deceased as well as injured persons were hit on the National Highway about 100 feet away from Barrage gate, which is possible only if the fire arms are aimed at the protesters just outside the Barrage Complex. Otherwise if the CISF personnel would have reacted from inside their bunkers no one would have been hit and the firing thereof would have scared away protesters.”
The inquiry officer has blamed CISF Commandant M K Chaturvedi for being indifferent as well as Sub-Divisional Magistrate Uri for negligence.
“In this incident the role of the Commandant CISF M K Chaturvedi remained indifferent as he did not bother to take control of the situation himself but let the entire situation being handled by a junior officer. He took the situation casually and confined himself to his office which led to the situation being handled by his juniors,” the report adds.
While recommending disciplinary action against SDM Uri, the report says that “the efforts made by him to control the situation and to resolve the issue are dubious.”
“He did not take any proactive step by way of making sufficient deployment of J&K Police personnel in the area where the protesters had assembled or where there was a possibility of confrontation between the protesters and the CISF personnel or to discuss the issue with NHPC authorities or CISF,” the report says.
“As such he is also responsible for the mishap which could have been avoided, had he taken a timely decision in this behalf,” it adds.
The report says that that the people protesting in the area were peaceful and allowed Army /BSF/ police vehicles as well as ambulances to ply normally.
The inquiry has virtually put a question mark on police investigation as they have charged five CISF personnel under sections 304 and 308 RPC and not under 302 RPC (murder).
As per the charge-sheet, one of the personnel has been charged under section 304 RPC, the remaining four have been charged under section 308 RPC.
The copy of the inquiry report was provided by Jammu and Kashmir Government in response to an RTI application by Irfan Hafiz Lone, prominent RTI activist of the Valley, vice-president of Baramulla Bar Association and president of People Against Corruption.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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