Kashmir rights panel slams staged shootouts
Srinagar, July 19 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission (JKHRC) Thursday said "killing for sport" by security personnel who expect undue promotions and rewards for such illegal operations should be stopped.
"There must be some check and balance which will deter such type of security personnel from undertaking these incidents of 'killing for sport' and then expect undue promotions and rewards for such illegal operation," said commission member Javaid Kawos.
The panel was hearing a petition filed by a man from north Kashmir whose son was allegedly branded as a separatist guerrilla and killed in a staged shootout in 2000.
Members of the special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and personnel of the 28 and 30 Rashtriya Rifles were involved in the operation in which Muhammad Akbar Tantray and another youth from Baramulla district were killed.
"I again recommend that before granting awards, rewards and promotions in favour of men in uniform for showing exemplary courage to combat militancy and for safeguarding the security of the state, there must be an in-house committee to probe and enquire about the veracity and authenticity of the incident(s) and then only in genuine incidents the men in uniform must be duly encouraged," said commission member Javaid Kawos.
The commission directed police to reopen the case and start investigations to bring those responsible for the staged shootout to justice.
Ghulam Rasool Tantray, father of Muhammad Akbar Tantray, alleged that his son was picked up by the security forces Jan 29-30, 2000 along with the other youth.
Muhammad Akbar Tantray was killed, along with the other youth, in Divar Lolab village of Kupwara district and identified as a "foreign militant" Jan 31, 2000.
The complainant father later identified the body of his son through a photograph taken by villagers who buried the body after it was handed over to them by the security personnel.
The commission come down heavily on the then district magistrate of Kupwara district holding that "the then deputy commissioner has acted in the most callous and dictatorial manner".
The panel directed that the concerned district magistrate should henceforth not be given any sensitive posting and the remarks of the rights panel must be placed on the service record of the officer.
The commission referred to the report of the state director general of police (DGP) in this case wherein the police chief said that the slain youth were not guerrillas.
The DGP's report said the youth who worked as an Imam in the village mosque would deliver sermons instigating the youth to indulge in anti-national activities.
"Such activities of the youth, if proved, may be an offence against the state and taken care of under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, but in no way the subject could have been killed in such a fake encounter," the commission said.
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