Srinagar: A tea seller on Tuesday deposed before a court in connection with the 2006 killing of an Imam, Showkat Ahmad Kataria. Former police officer Hans Raj Parihar, a prime accused in the case, was not present during the proceedings.
Kataria was killed in 2006 after he went missing from Srinagar’s Zadibal locality where he was leading prayers at a local mosque.
The tea seller—MM Ganie— had a shop outside SSP office Ganderbal in the year 2006 and he deposed as a prosecution witness before the Principal District and Session Judge Srinagar.
Parihar, who is currently out on bail, submitted an application for exemption for today’s proceedings.
Parihar has been released on bail by the high court at Jammu in November last year for 20 days in connection with the marriage of his daughter. Later, the bail was extended on health reasons.
According to SIT, which probed the killing, Kataria was picked up by a joint party of Special Operations Group of Ganderbal police and 13 Rashtriya Rifles.
A resident of Doligam-Jabdi, Banihal, Kataria was later killed and dubbed a Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant. His body was exhumed from Bazipora-Ajas in Bandipore on February 3, 2007, and his identity established after DNA tests.
The SIT filed a charge sheet against 11 persons, including five policemen as many army men and a civilian, a cleric who wanted to replace Kataria, for the cold-blooded murder.
While the policemen and the civilian were arrested, the army refused to hand over its accused soldiers, questioning the civil administrations authority to probe its men under AFSPA, the draconian law that affords blanket immunity to Indian armed forces in Kashmir.
In October 2009, the court had framed charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and abduction against former SSP Hans Raj Parihar, former DSP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Ahmad Gudoo and constables Tariq Ahmad Lone and Manzoor Ahmad Malik and the civilian Mohammad Ashraf.