Srinagar: Except for Hans Raj Parrihar, the former SSP accused of picking up several civilians, murdering them in staged gunfights and passing them off as militants for money and awards, other accused were present before the Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Rashid Ali Dar, conducting the trial.
The cross-examination of the IO, Shuja Ahmad Latoo, remained inconclusive and now the case has been posted on March 11.
Parihar has been released on bail by the high court at Jammu in November last year after the state government said it has “no objections” if he assures that he will not leave the state without prior permission of the court. On February 22, he appeared before the court in connection with trial in the fake encounter killing of Showkat Ahmed Kataria, a cleric who used to lead prayers in a masjid at Zadibal here before becoming the victim of the stage-managed gunfight.
Parihar had filed the petition before the high court’s Jammu wing and was granted bail, which was later extended from time to time, in three FIRs—06/2007 in Batamaloo-, 04/2007 in Zadibal- and 52/2006 in Sumbal police stations.
While FIR in police station Batamaloo pertains to the killing of Padroo, two other cases had been filed for killing Showkat Ahmad Kataria and Ghulam Nabi Wani of Kokernag, a cloth merchant.
Apart from Parihar, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has named DySP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Gudoo, driver Farooq Ahmad Padder, Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Constable Bansi Lal as accused in the fake encounter killings.
Besides cops and a civilian, the police had also chargesheeted Col. Vikram Singh, Maj. Rishi Khanna, V.K. Sharma, Puran Singh and Satpal Singh of 13 Rashtriya Rifles of army. If proven guilty, accused can face a death or life sentence.
The SIT had exhumed Padroo’s body in Sumbal area of Bandipora district. He had gone missing from Batmaloo bus stand on 8 December 2006, and was allegedly taken to Waskoora Ganderbal where he was killed in the fake encounter by the accused, working with Special Operation Group (SOG) posted in Ganderbal and Sumbal camps.
The DNA taken from the body of Padroo matched with that of his relatives in Larnoo Kokernag, confirming that the killed ‘foreign militant’ was not Pakistani but the abducted carpenter.
Padroo was the lone son of frail old parents, father of five daughters, and the youngest was three months old when he was killed.
Kataria, a resident of Banihal in Jammu region, was picked up by the SOG men in league with army and he was subsequently killed in a fake gunfight in October 2006 and was passed off as a ‘foreign militant’. Kataria’s identity was established after DNA tests.
As per the SIT, Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Choontwali-War Ganderbal, who intended to lead the prayers at Zadibal, had hatched a conspiracy with Constable Tariq Ahmad Lone of Kupwara to eliminate Kataria.
Ghulam Nabi Wani from Nowbug, Kokernag, was picked up from outside Biscoe school in Lal Chowk where he plied a cart for selling cloths. A father of four children, Wani was also killed in fake encounter in Sumbal Bandipore district in 2006. He was passed off, according to SIT charge sheet, as Zulfikar Ahmad, a resident of Pakistan administered Kashmir.