Srinagar, Mar 16: The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed the authorities to prosecute five security personnel, allegedly involved in the custodial killing of one person in 1997.
The SHRC has issued the directions on a petition filed by the family members of one Bashir Ahmed Shah, alleging that he was killed after his arrest. However, police and army have claimed that he was a militant and was killed in an encounter.
However, the family members contested the official claim and filed a petition before the Commission alleging that on July 17, 1997 troops of 28 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) arrested Bashir and two other people during a search operation at Dangiwachi Rafiabad in Baramulla district.
The petition said troops later handed over the body of the victim to his family members.
The Commission directed the police to file a report. The then Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, in his report on August 24, 2001 repeated that Bashir was a militant and killed in a counter insurgency operation in Dalri forests.
Last year the Commission again directed the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police (DGP) to file his report on the case. ''In this connection, the reinvestigation of the case has been completed and the case has been closed, as challan against the five soldiers of 28 Rashtriya Rifles, including a major has been submitted'', the DGP stated in the report.
The acting chairperson of the SHRC in his judgment observed, ''The report of the DGP has contradicted the earlier report of the IGP. This commission is justified in accepting the report of the DGP, which has substantiated the custodial killing of Bashir after he was lifted during a search operation.'' ''The commission has examined the matter in depth. The record has clearly established that the personnel of 28 RR during search operation had lifted Bashir and subsequently killed him. Later a report was lodged by the 28 RR justifying the death of the civilian during counter insurgency operations'', the judgment said.
The ruling further says, ''The petitioner's case is therefore accepted as genuine. as it has sufficiently proved that victim was killed in custody'' ''The Commission has recommended the government that it should ''expeditiously prosecute the challan against the accused Major and his four associates''. The commission also directed the state to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to Bashir's family.