Says 15 paramilitary troopers were found responsible by CoI but whether criminal proceedings were conducted against them remains unknown
Srinagar: The State Human Right Commission’s investigation wing on Thursday said that “carelessness and deliberate attempts” by investigation officer has led to loss of the evidence to punish the paramilitary CRPF men responsible the Hawal massacre in 1990.
At least 67 people were killed and hundreds injured when the paramilitary troops opened fire on a peaceful procession carrying body of Mirwaiz Kashmir Moulana Mohammad Farooq in 1990.
“Since the incident is 27 years old, the evidence if any except the statements of witnesses would have lost relevance especially due to carelessness and deliberate attempts on behalf of the investigation officer namely ASP N Sarvada (IPS). At this stage some documents are to be sought from certain quarters and a fresh attempt will be undertaken to locate the injured persons and witnesses to record their statements,” said Masood Ahmed Beigh, Investigating Officer SHRC, adding that the fresh enquiry will be concluded and submitted within a “couple of months” before the Commission.
In his interim report, Beigh also said that three officers among 15 CRPF personnel of CRPF’s 69 Battalion were found responsible for indiscriminate firing on people by Court of Inquiry conducted by the paramilitary force’s Board of Officers.
“However, it isn’t known what action has been taken against the delinquent officials and whether any criminal proceedings have been conducted against them or not,” he added.
The IPS officer N Sarvada, who was ASP police headquarters then, had conducted the investigation of case from 21 May to 13 August 1990 and despite submitting 20 case diaries, he has not recorded statement of eyewitnesses including shopkeepers nor any injured person, Being said. Instead he recorded statement of CRPF officials who blamed militants for attacking them.
“It is worth to mention that at the initial stages of investigation, the IO ASP HQ, N Sarvada had deliberately conducted the investigation in a biased manner and hadn’t appreciated the significance of recording statement of the independent witnesses,” he said.
Later the investigation was taken up by sub inspector Farooq Ahmad and eventually the case was transferred to crime branch Kashmir.
“However, it isn’t known where the file was from 13 August to 13 November 1990 but no efforts were taken to investigate the case,” he said. Later the case was again transferred to police again.
“So far the investigation has been conducted by various IOs of police and Crime Branch, however no genuine efforts have been taken to conclude the investigation to its logical conclusion,” Masood said.
He said the CRPF men, who were stationed at Islamia College and “responsible for killing innocent civilians without any reason and justification” were held responsible by COI.
“It has been agreed upon by the enquiry committee that the men on duty appeared to have forgotten the act of restraint and the art of magnanimity and if the version of civilians is any indication that CRPF after firing also indulged in most of the reprehensible conducted of depravity by helping themselves to the valuable of the dead lying around at scene of occurrence, which in itself was sufficient to close in investigation against CRPF and should have challaned in court of law as such,” he said.
The accused CRPF named by COI included DySP Lakhan Singh, Sub Inspector Mukhtar Singh, Sub Inspector Rajinder Singh, Lance Naik Satpal Singh, Constable T.A. Param, Constable Ghalib Khan, Constable Desh Raj, Constable D.Krishna, Constable Om Singh, Constable Prem Singh, Constable Y.Krishna Rao, Constable Y.Shukla, Lance Naik D.N. Singh, Lance Naik A.K. Mita and another Constable (name not mentioned) with belt number 880900551.
The SHRC has ordered inquiry by its investigation wing on a petition filed by chairman of International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Forum Ahsan Untoo.
Besides investigation, he also seeks compensation to the next of the kin of those killed as well as for those injured in the massacre.
Terming the incident as “blackest day in the history of Kashmir”, he also seeks direction to the government to allow the “interested persons” to build memorial in the name of those killed in the Hawal Massacre.