Srinagar, Oct 19: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in Jammu and Kashmir today came down heavily on the police department for its ''poor'' investigations into the disappearance of a person who was the only bread-earner of a family having four girl members.
Disposing of a petition, SHRC member Habibullah Bhat recommended to the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay Rs two lakh to the four sisters who have lost their brother, Ghulam Rasool Lone, as ex-gratia relief and benefit of SRO-43 be also extended to them.
He also directed the authorities concerned to hand over the investigations of the case to the Crime Branch of the state police.
The four sisters -- Shameema Parveen, Zeenat Parveen, Naghma Parveen and Atiqa Parveen -- had said on December 20, 2002 that their 25-year-old brother was picked up by the Special Task Force and not released despite report by the Kulgam police station. The disappearance of their brother was not determined by the police station concerned.
The SHRC had taken suo moto cognizance and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, was asked to file a factual report in the case. The report was submitted on February 10, 2003.
During investigations, some surrendered militants -- Mohammad Ashraf Wani alias Asha Kali, Shakeel Ahmad Bhat alias Tiger, Shiraz Ahmad Dar and Nisar Ahmed Dar -- suspected to be involved in the youth's disappearance were arrested, but later released on bail. The surrendered militants (Ikhwanis) admitted that they had picked up Lone, but set him free soon.
The SHRC had also issued notices to the sisters for appearance before it. ''But, it appears that notices had not been served on them. As the case is admittedly a gross violation of human rights, I, therefore, proceed to dispose of it on the anvil of law,'' Mr Bhat said in his order.
''The police had committed a serious error. When the four arrested Ikhwanis admitted during interrogation that they had picked up Lone, police should have asked them where the victim had subsequently gone and how he disappeared from their custody,'' he said.
''The violators of law cannot escape the accountability on disappearance of Lone. The police did not act in accordance with the terms of law and as such the investigations into the case should be channelised,'' Mr Bhat added.