HAWAL MASSACRE: SHRC negates police report, says CRPF massacred more than 50 mourners

Police had closed case as ‘untraced’; No challan produced in 28 years

SHAFAQ SHAH
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 21 2018 11:47PM | Updated Date: May 21 2018 11:47PM
HAWAL MASSACRE: SHRC negates police report, says CRPF massacred more than 50 mournersFile Photo

The CID investigation into the Hawal massacre of May 21, 1990, has stated that some militants fired upon the CRPF men and in retaliation CRPF fired in self defence. But the investigation wing of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) nails the police version and says a CRPF court of inquiry has identified 15 of its troopers that had massacred more than 50 mourners without any provocation.

However, no challan in the case has yet been produced in the court nor have the guilty CRPF men been held accountable for the massacre.

On 21 May 1990, senior separatist leader Molvi Muhammad Farooq was killed by unknown gunmen at his Nigeen residence. As the news broke out, people rushed to SKIMS to carry his body towards Mirwaiz Manzil at Rajouri Kadal in Downtown. When the procession reached Islamia College, the para-military forces fired upon the mourners.

The Criminal Investigation department, that had submitted their report to the Commission, has closed the case as ‘untraced’.

As per the CID report, “Curfew was imposed on the day and during curfew hours some unknown militants fired upon the CRPF men and in retaliation CRPF fired in self defence in which some 35 civilians died on spot.”

The CID report further reveals that the investigation of the case was entrusted to Crime Branch Kashmir and during the course of investigation the case has been “closed as untraced as no clue was found.”

But the investigation wing of the SHRC picks holes in the CID report and came up with a 12-page investigation report holding the CRPF troopers of the 69 battalion, who were stationed at the Islamia College, responsible for killing innocent civilians without any reason and justification. The personnel were also held guilty by the CoI.

The investigation wing conducted an inquiry into the massacre in 2014. The investigation came after a petition by chairperson International Forum for Justice and Human Rights, Ahsan Untoo.

The SHRC report states: “On 21 May 1990, at 1400 hours, ASI of J&K Police Muhammad Rafiq submitted a written docket through Ct. No. 686 to SHO P/S Nowhatta, mentioning that during the law and order duty at Gojwara Chowk at 1345 hours along with Nafri it was learnt that Moulvi Mohammad Farooq chairman Awami Action Committee succumbed at Medical Institute Soura due to bullet injuries. His body was being taken to Rajouri Kadal in a procession and near Islamia College some rounds were fired as a result of which lot of persons in the procession died and many were injured.

“At 1415 hours, the senior officers of police and paramilitary forces paid a visit to the site and investigation of the case was entrusted to N Sarvade, the then ASP HQ Srinagar, who immediately rushed to Medical Institute Soura for filling of the injury memos. However the people were very agitated and were present in large numbers, as  a result of which no legal formalities could be conducted. The investigation officer came back and visited the scene of crime where among others the then DIG Kashmir Izhar Islam and the then DIG CRPF DK Suri were on the spot.

“The IO, the report states, took physical evidence in the shape of empty cartridges of AK 47 rifles at three different places which were scattered. In addition to these items 2 bullets were recovered, one embedded in a sand bag located on the compound wall of Islamia College and other bullet was found on the floor of sentry post. Accordingly seizure memos were prepared, the statement of some CRPF personnel, without mentioning the battalion, were recorded.

“The IO, N Sarvade the then ASP headquarters, conducted investigation of the case from 21/05/1990 to 13 August 1990 and submitted 20 Case Diaries (CD), wherein he hasn’t recorded statements of the eye witnesses i.e. shopkeepers, injured persons. The IO has only recorded the statements of CRPF officials, who in their statements have said that a large procession was coming from Soura towards Islamia College who were shouting “anti-national slogans and were very much excited and furious when carrying the body of Moulvi Farooq and in the meantime a burst of the fire came from opposite direction of the Islamia College from the graveyard side towards their camp which was retaliated as a result of which large number of processionists got killed and injured.”

“The IO has also failed to obtain even the list of the deceased and injured persons and hasn’t taken any serious steps to investigate the case in an unbiased manner. He has indulged in a flight of fancy and on his transfer handed over the case file to Police Station Nowhatta without mentioning anywhere about the seized items which he had reportedly seized from the scene of crime.

“Afterwards, the case was taken up by then SI Farooq Ahmad, then SHO Nowhatta. On 05/12/1992 and in the same CD, the IO stated that vide PHQ order Number 20-C/92 dated 13/11/1992, the investigation was transferred to Crime Branch Kashmir. However, it’s not known that from 13/08/1990 to 13/11/1992 where the case file had been and no efforts were taken to investigate it.

“Consequent upon the case in Crime Branch, the case was taken up by then Dy SP Mir Ab. Qayoom. During the investigation, in CD 26, dated 16/03/1993, the IO mentioned a list of 114 individuals killed/injured.

“The IO further recorded the statements of the relatives of the deceased persons and during investigation of the case it was established that personnel of CRPF 69 Bn were deployed at the place of occurrence.

“The IO after obtaining the list of the injured has made efforts to record their statements but none of the witnesses turned up, as a result of which till date the statements of the injured persons have not been recorded so far, except for the statements of few of the NOKs of the deceased,” the SHRC report reads.

During the course of investigation citing the sequence of investigations by Crime Branch, the CRPF had conducted a Court of Inquiry (CoI) headed by a board of officers consisting MP Singh IGP NES-CRPF, NK Tiwari DIG (P) CRPF, R K Sharma Commandant 60-BN-CRPF, vide CD No. 42 dated 21/06/1993 and 15 CRPF personnel were held responsible for the massacre.

According to the investigation wing of the SHRC, it is not known what action has been taken against the personnel and whether any criminal proceedings have been conducted against them or not.

The CRPF, however, didn’t cooperate with the SHRC. The SHRC report states that IG (Ops) CRPF Panthachowk, IG CRPF (Adm) Nishat, DIG central Kashmir were approached and repeated requests were made to them to furnish copy of the Court of Inquiry conducted by CRPF into the incident and also communicate whether the guilty officers/officials of 69 Bn CRPF were prosecuted for criminal liability. However, till date no information has been received to this end.

The district magistrate Srinagar was also approached for information regarding the list of number of persons killed/injured in the incident and details of the beneficiaries in respect of whom benefits under SRO/ex-gratia have been extended. However, repeated requests since 2014 in this regard have failed to elicit any response.

 

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