Monday, March 1, 2010

Fake Encounter Case :8 yrs, 94 hearings – SHRC makes no headway

Family of a mason killed by troops in 2002 in Surankote still awaits justice
Srinagar, Feb 28: A Poonch mason was killed by troopers in 2002 in broad daylight. The family of slain knock the doors of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) with a petition. Eight years and 94 hearings on, the Commission has failed to conclude inquiry into the case. Kala Khan, a resident of Village Lassana in Surankote tehsil of frontier district of Poonch, was allegedly picked up by the personnel of SOG and 40 Rashtriya Rifles on February 12, 2002. Subsequently, Khan's family approached the Commission with an application and also lodged a case with it on April 17, 2002. In the application, submitted by the widow of Khan Faqran Bibi, a Commission of Inquiry was sought to know the factual position of the death of Khan and punishment to the guilty.Bibi submitted in the application: “On February 12, 2002, Kala Khan - a mason by profession - while returning home from Surankote was picked up by some men of SOG and 40 RR at around 5.30 after he disembarked from a bus. The next day, they (troops) brought a masked man, in army fatigues and wearing civilian shoes, to our house for search. SOG Sub-Inspector Mohd Afzal alongwith two other civilians namely Sarfaraz Khan and Mohd Altaf Khan of Lasana village entered the house and searched along with me (Faqran Bibi) and my son Mohammad Khalid, while the other family members were locked in another room. They (forces) found nothing during the search.” The application further read, “After the search, the SI ordered the masked man to run and when the latter started to run, the SOG SI ordered his men to shoot him. The SOG men fired four bursts from their rifles and killed the masked man on spot.”As stated in the application, the SOG men then dragged the body of the masked man with a rope and pushed it from the hilltop at least 600 metres down on the road near a spot Takkiya Sharief Dherian, where around 12 villagers were standing. The application further states that SOG officer Afzal did not allow villagers to lift the body. Later on, the body of the masked man was taken to tehsil Mandi by the SOG and army and buried in the graveyard at Sekhlu village.In the meantime, the family of Khan kept on searching him, unaware that the masked man gunned down was none other than Kala Khan. It were the villagers of Lasana and Malhan who told the family that Khan was the same masked person who was killed by SOG on February 13.“On February 16, 2002, we went to Police Station Surankote to lodge an FIR, seeking to know the whereabouts of my father. We also asked the police to hand over his body if he had been killed. But the concerned DSP said the person killed on February 13 at our house was a militant and not my father,” Khan's another son Tariq Mehmood told Rising Kashmir. He had come all the way from Surankote to Srinagar to attend the 94th hearing into the case of his father before the SHRC.“Finally, on March 3, 2003, the DC Poonch, vide an order No IMP/J/1682-83 dated March 2, 2003, ordered exhumation of the body of the masked man who was killed at our house," said Tariq.“The exhumed body was identified by the numerous stitches which my father had received during a previous operation. The body was handed over to us a day later and we buried it in our ancestral graveyard at Lasana the same day," Tariq continued.Frustrated over the inordinate delay in concluding the inquiry by the Commission, Tariq said, “For past eight years, we have been asking SHRC to hold a Commission of Inquiry into the death of my father and bring the culprits to book, the latter has done nothing concrete so for."He said the Commission has been just fixing hearings into the case. "This was the 94th hearing into our petition.”Tariq showed the last order copy by the SHRC, passed in 2008, which read, “The Police has caused an inordinate delay in finalising the investigation of the case and in case the report is not finalised and submitted on June 2, 2008, the Commission shall draw a strong presumption that Kala Khan was killed after being picked up by the concerned security agency on February 12, 2002.”

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