Seven inquiries into civilian killings in Kashmir in 2015, but still no results

November 16, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Irfan Rashid

Barely does a month go by when a civilian is not killed in Indian controlled Kashmir by the Indian Army.

In the past nine months of 2015, the Jammu and Kashmir government, a puppet in the hands of others, ordered seven inquiries into civilian killings but not a single probe has yielded any results. The probe committees failed to act in some cases and were abandoned halfway in others.  

 

First Inquiry

The first probe was ordered by the government in February this year into the killing of a youth in the Palhalan area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The inquiry officer was ordered to submit his report within 15 days.

Farooq Ahmad Bhat, 20, was killed on February 9 in police action in the Palhallan area of Pattan. Two other youths, later identified as Riyaz Ahmad Bhat and Asif Ahmad Sheikh, were also injured in the police action which triggered massive protests and forced the government to order an inquiry. The slain boy was not part of the protests going on in the area.

The then Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla, Talat Parvaiz, ordered an investigation into the killing of Ahmad and appointed Sub-Divisional Magistrate Pattan as the inquiry officer. The enquiry committee was directed to submit their report as soon as possiblle. After nine months had passed, the officials of the Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla said they are still investigating the matter.

 

Second Inquiry

The second inquiry was ordered by Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara on February 11 into the alleged custodial killing of Nazir Ahmad Mughal of Gujjar Pati village of Zirhama, Kupwara.

When the killing triggered massive protests, the district administration ordered an inquiry which, according to officials, is “still on.”

 

Third Inquiry

The third inquiry was ordered in May after the killing of Suhail Ahmad Sofi of Narbal Budgam in police firing. The killing triggered massive anti-India and pro-freedom protests after which the Deputy Commissioner of Budgam, Mir Altaf Ahmad, ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

An additional Deputy Commissioner was appointed at the inquiry office and asked to submit his report in 15 days. So far, the probe has not been completed.

“We are still investigating it,” officials at the DC office in Budgam said.

 

Fourth Inquiry

In February this year, the Army claimed to have killed seven suspected militants in the Dardpora forests of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district in an encounter. Later, the Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, Kumar Rajiv Ranjan nominated an additional District Magistrate for Kupwara, who is also the district Assistant Commissioner Revenue, as the inquiry officer and directed him to conduct a probe into the Army claims as per guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission.

The inquiry officer was asked to submit the report in seven days, but hasn’t done so to date.

“The investigations are on and completion will take some time,” officials at the DC office in Kupwara said.

 

Fifth Inquiry

Another inquiry was ordered by the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on June 15 into civilian killings in North Kashmir’s Sopore. Six people: Altaf-ur-Rehman Sheikh, Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, Mehraj-ud-Din, Aijaz Ahmad Reshi, Rafiq Akbar Hanji and Ghulam Hassan Dar were killed by unknown gunmen in different parts of Sopore.

“The Chief Minister has taken a serious note of the killings of civilians in Sopore and issued directions to the Home Department for stepping up investigations and providing a secure environment to all civilians,” an official spokesman said that day.

There has been no headway in the probe since. “The inquiry must be going on,” an official of the Home Department said. “I will have to check.”

 

Sixth Inquiry

Another inquiry was ordered on August 11 after Border Security Forces (BSF) shot dead Bilal Ahmad Bhat of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Bilal was killed when BSF soldiers opened fire on protestors in the Malangpora area of the district. The Government ordered a “time-bound” enquiry into the killing and an Additional Deputy Commissioner was asked to probe the incident.

“We have recorded the statements and investigations are on,” officials at the DC office in Pulwama said.

 

Seventh Inquiry

The latest inquiry was ordered into the killing of Gowhar Nazir Dar of HMT Srinagar on ther evening of November 7 after a tear gas shell hit his head. This happened on the same day as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the conflict valley of Kashmir to announce the developmental package which was termed by pro-freedom leaders as “tactics to divert from the real political solution of Kashmir.” On the next day, the grandmother of the slain youth also died due to a heart attack when she could not bear the news of her grandson’s death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irfan Rashid

The author has a specialization in literary journalism and reports on conflict, politics, urban development, rural development, education and environment in Indian Administered Kashmir. You can read his stories onwww.irfanrashidjournalist.wordpress.com and can follow him on @irfan_kashmiri.

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