Srinagar: Police Investigation Wing (PIW) of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) regarding a fresh enquiry of a case about the killing of youth by security forces in Devar Lolab, Kupwara” stated that they have conducted investigation into three cases out of which they found only one deceased as civilian.
The PIW replied this to Commission after they were given a mandate by SHRC to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the killings of three-person including Mohammad Yousuf Shah, Mohammad Maqbool Shah and Mohammad Iqbal Shah.
In a reply to SHRC regarding the killing of Mohammad Yousuf Shah, PIW stated that Jammu and Kashmir police have said, “On 18-05-1996, a written application from Major RS Gill 9SF stated that the security forces were carrying out ambush on May 18th, 1996 in the jungles of Dardpora, where three armed militants were challenged who (in return) opened fire, and in self-defense, forces retaliated in which all three militants were killed.”
“During the investigation, the identification of these killed militants was ascertained, who were identified as, Showkat Ahmad Khan S/O Buland Khan, Mohammad Yousuf Shah S/o Sakhi Shah R/o Devar Lolab and third dead body remained unidentified.”
However the PIW said that they also conducted the independent enquiry of the case saying, “During independent investigation statements of the witnesses of said locality have been recorded, who stated that the deceased Mohammad Yousuf Shah S/O Sakhi Shah was about 22-years-old and prior to his killing, he was an active militant for two years with militant organization AL- BURQ and had even crossed the LoC over to PaK to get arms and ammunition training. The discreet evidence collected also suggested the same facts.”
Similarly, in another case, PIW informed the Commission that “As per the police version, Mohammad Maqbool Shah crossed the line of control over to PaK for illegal arms/ammunition training in the year 1995 and came back to the valley in the year 1997.”
PIW also said that the police have stated that “In the year 2000, on 2nd of April, he was gunned down by forces of 18 RR/ SOG Lalpora/ Police Station Lalpora in Kakar Mohalla Dever Lolab. Regarding this occurrence, FIR No. 20/2000 was registered in P/S Lalpora and during the course of an investigation, it came to fore that said Maqbool Shah, (deceased) was Divisional Commander of Tehreek Jehad-e-Islami and accordingly the investigation of the case was closed as untraced on FIR No. 10-05-2000,”
However, the PIW enquiry report in the case of Mohammad Maqbool Shah reads, “During the course of an impartial/independent investigation, the statements of witnesses were recorded in the locality of the deceased including Numberdar, Village Chowkidar and Sarpanchas.”
PIW mentioned that “In their statements, they stated that the deceased was approximately 22- years-old and was married to his cousin namely Gulab Jani of the same village. He is survived by his wife and five children. In the year 1995, he joined militancy and crossed LoC over to PaK for getting arms training.”
The Investigation wing of SHRC has also said, “In the year 2000, the deceased was eliminated by security forces in the vicinity of village Devar Inderbugh Lolab. The discreet evidence collected in the incident also established the same facts.”
In a case of deceased ‘civilian’ Mohammad Iqbal Shah, PIW said that police have stated that “Shah had left his home on 07-07-1998 for grazing his animals in the forest area of Trimukh, Bahak, where from he was taken forcibly by militants as a guide and he got killed in the cross-firing that took place in the wee hours on 08-07-1998 in the area of Trimukh forests between the troops of 15 RR Camp Watlab and un-identified militants.”
PIW said that the concerned police have said that the record reveals that Mohammad Iqbal Shah (deceased) was a civilian and not involved in any subversive or criminal activity till his death.
However the PIW investigation stated that “During the course of an independent investigation, the statements of such witnesses who live in the vicinity of residence of the deceased were recorded, and in their individual statements they stated that deceased was a youth and besides this, he was doing his domestic labor and was a thorough gentleman. On 07-07-1998, the deceased left home for grazing his animals in the upper forest reaches of Trimukh Bahak and not returned home.”
PIW also reveals that “They (witnesses) further stated that they could not say whether he was killed by the Army or got killed in the cross-firing. The discreet evidence collected in the incident also established the same facts.”
The petition of the case was filed by the chairman of International Forum for Justice, Ahsan Untoo. (RK)