Srinagar: The J&K High court has issued a notice calling Indian defence ministry, army and the state government to file objections by February 21 to a petition, seeking direction to disclose the “authority” under which the three civilians have been kept in “custody” by the Territorial Army at Kupwara” since November 2015.
The whereabouts of Ghulam Jeelani Khatana son of Karim Din, Mir Hussain Khatana son of Muhammad Ismail, both residents of Gojar Patti Dardepora, and Ali Muhammad Sheikh son of Abdul Aziz of Dolipora Trehgam are not known since they were allegedly taken by Manzoor Ahmad Khowaja of Dardepora who works in 160 Battalion of Territorial Army in Hiri (Kupwara) camp.
A single bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey issued the notice to the Indian Defence Ministry, Chief of the Army Staff, Commandant 160 Battalion Territorial Army and state government on the plea by the family members of the missing persons.
Ghulam Jeelani Khatan’s wife, Begum Jan submits that the lone bread-earner for the family comprising ten children, three of the blind, have been kept in custody by commandant 160 Battalion Territorial Army Heeri Camp Kralpora Kupwara. She said the family is struggling for survival without her husband.
Mir Hussan Khatana’s family includes seven children, three of them girls and they are struggling for survival and are starving, his cousin, Noor Hassan Khatana has pleaded in the plea.
The petitioners have also sought directions to the authorities to disclose status of the investigation of (FIR no 100/2015) registered at Police Station Kralpora.
A police spokesman in a statement issued last year said that on 28 November 2015, P/S Kralpora received a complaint from relatives of Ghulam Jeelani Khatana (52), Mir Hussain Khatan (55) that on 17 November 2015, one person namely Manzoor Ahmad Khawja of Satboyan Dardpora called them to Kralpora and since then the whereabouts of them are not known nor any kind of communication could be made with them.
Accordingly, the spokesman said, police station Kralpora lodged an FIR (100/2015 u/s 364 RPC) and investigations were set into motion. “Manzoor Ahmad Khawja was arrested on 08/12/2015,” the spokesman said.
Similarly, the spokesman said, police station Trehgam received a complaint on 29 November 2015 regarding missing of one Ali Mohammd Sheikh (40) since November 17 and accordingly a missing report was recorded.
On 09 December 2015, the family persons of three missing persons were called to police station Kralpora and were shown photographs of the four militants killed in encounters since 15 November 2015. The relatives denied resemblance of these photographs with those of their missing relatives in presence of the independent witnesses.
“Further investigation is going on,” the police spokesman had said.
The petitioners seek directions to the respondents for taking legal action as warranted under law against Commandant 160 Battalion Territorial Army Heeri Camp Kralpora Kupwara and Manzoor Ahmad Khawaja for committing what they termed as barbaric act.
They also seek directions to provide compensation of Rs one Crore “in exercise of the public law remedy independent of the civil suit available to them under law of the land.”
The petitioners also seek directions to Director Social Welfare Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner Kupwara for possible relief under various schemes till their bread earners are released.
Besides issuing notice, the court asked director Social Welfare and deputy Commissioner Kupwara to consider the grievance of the petitioners whose some dependents are physically challenged by providing them relief under Social Welfare Schemes.