SHRC indicts BSF of killing 18-year-old boy in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov 27 (UNI) The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in Jammu and Kashmir has held the Border Security Force (BSF) guilty of killing an 18-year-old student in custody in 1990 and directed the police to register a case against the accused.

In his judgement, SHRC chairperson Justice (Retd) M Y Kawoosa also directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay an interim relief of Rs two lakh to the kin of Mohammad Shafi Dar, a class XII student and a resident of Batamaloo here, and job to one of the eligible family members.

On May 23, 1990, Dar's mother Raja had lodged a complaint with the SHRC, alleging that her son was picked up by the BSF personnel from his residence along with a friend, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat.

Bhat deposed before the SHRC, stating that he and Dar were taken to the joint interrogation centre at Hari Niwas here. While Bhat was released eight days later, there was no news about Dar.

Raja then approached the authorities for seeking a meeting with her son, but the request was disallowed. ''After a few days, a youth from Batamaloo told Raja that her son died during interrogation. She again approached the authorities, but of no avail. Due to shock, her husband also died,'' Justice Kawoosa said in his judgement.

In its report to the SHRC, police confirmed that the BSF's 141 battalion picked up the victim along with another boy. ''As far as the police statement that the missing person was working with Al Jehad militant outfit is concerned, the complainant and the witnesses have categorically rebutted the allegations. They said the police had added this sentence to save the skin of the accused.'' The SHRC further said that police had not given any evidence, either documentary or oral, to substantiate that the victim was working with the Al Jehad militant outfit. ''Merely alleging that he was working with Al Jehad outfit will not establish that the victim indulged in militancy,'' it observed.

Justice Kawoosa said even if assumed that Dar worked for Al Jehad outfit, police had admitted that the BSF personnel picked him up.

Even criminals and detainees cannot be deprived of human rights, he said, adding it was the duty of police and the armed forces to protect their lives by getting them punished under law.

''Police and other forces have no right to arrest a person on suspicion and kill him during custody. There is no justification for the BSF to do away with the victim, who should have been produced before a court of law after being charged with offences. This shows that the BSF and the police had failed in protecting his life and the complainant's apprehension that her son had been killed in custody seems to be correct,'' the SHRC chairman noted.

''This is the gross human rights violation committed by the BSF personnel...It is being done because there is no accountability for such forces,'' he added.

The SHRC chairperson further directed the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police to register a case against the BSF.

UNI

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