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No Police Officer Penalized For HR Violations In J&K

By Shruti Oza

16 April, 2010

Jammu and Kashmir government has neither punished nor prosecuted police officers allegedly involved in 168 cases of human rights violations which includes cases of custodial killings and enforced disappearances in which state government had ordered magisterial inquiries and judicial probes.

These include just 8 cases of murder and 13 cases of attempt to murder. 147 other cases have been registered against police personnel for kidnapping, abetment to suicide, theft, robbery, rioting, obscenity, wrongful confinement, attempt to rape, enforced disappearance and corruption. Of 168 cases, 140 have been challenged and are pending before the court of law, 22 are under investigations and 6 others were not admitted.

According to home department, 60 cases have been registered in Srinagar city, 58 in Jammu zone, 10 in Samba, 15 in Doda, 5 in Budgam, 13 in Ganderbal, 10 in Baramulla and 1 in Anantnag. The department has maintained that no case of human rights violation by police personal has been registered in Leh, Kargil, Pulwama, Awantipora, Kulgam, Shopian, Kupwara, Handwara and Sopore.

None of the involved police personal have been punished nor prosecuted so far. With 140 cases sub-Judice, sources aver that despite having best brains at work including an Additional Advocate General (AAG) for whom post has been shifted to New Delhi, government has been unable to bring the guilty officials to justice. Besides, police and other investigating agencies have been taking too much time in completing investigations in various cases of human rights abuse.

This admission was made by state home department in reply to a cut motion of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) MLA Harshdev Singh who had sought details of officers who have been punished or prosecuted for atrocities on civilians and for criminal or any other offences alongwith details of ongoing investigations against police personal.

State home department has appended a list of police officers, who are facing trail in different cases of murder, attempt to murder, loot, arson, corruption, kidnapping, abetment to suicide, wrongful confinement and similar other criminal offences but has categorically stated that none has been punished or prosecuted so far.

Interestingly, the case of Abdul Rehman Paddar’s fake encounter killing in December 2006 which actually prompted former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to order probe into the allegations of custodial killing is also pending in the court of law since the day case was instituted for trial. Padder, a carpenter by profession was killed in a fake encounter on the outskirts of Ganderbal.

Allegedly, the cops had branded him as a foreign militant. Padder’s body was exhumed on February 1, 2007. Soon after his exhumation in Ganderbal, skeletons started tumbling out. Padder’s exhumation was followed by four other exhumations. All these bodies were identified by their family members and police in a swift action with the arrests of former SP Ganderbal Hans Raj Parihar, his deputy Bahadur Ram and other involved Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel.

Home department has mentioned this case in its list appended along with the reply of cut-motion. Several international organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have in their annual reports for the year 2009 lamented the fact that those booked for human rights violations either go Scot free or prefer silence over the repeated reminders of respective courts including the Supreme Court of India.

From BJP led NDA to Congress led UPA, the official tag line has been "penalizing security forces for even legally established crimes against humanity committed by them demoralizes their morale and on the contrary encourages anti-national elements to spread their venomous anti-India agenda."

Writer is freelance Journalist based in mumbai