An apt example of system exhausting families of victims to ensure impunity to armed forces
Srinagar: The Sailan massacre is not just an illustration of the “brutality of crimes committed by the armed forces”, it is an apt example of the manner in which the system seeks to exhaust, disappoint families of victims, and in the end attempt to ensure impunity for the armed forces, the JK coalition of civil society said Thursday, on the 19 anniversary of the incident.
A statement issued by JKCCS said that despite intervention from the High Court and investigations being handed over to the CBI, the case continues to move in favor of the accused.
The families had to approach the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for investigations in this case and finally in 2012 the High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out proper investigations. Three years later, on 25 August 2015, the CBI concluded that the case should be closed, exonerated the named accused and stated that the families of the victim were untruthful.
“The struggle for the families then began before the CBI court in Jammu where they filed a protest petition for further investigations. The family members had to travel to Jammu from Sailan, Poonch and their legal representatives from Srinagar. Over close to eighteen court dates, until 2 May 2017, the court was seized of the case, heard detailed arguments and then reserved the case for final orders. But, due to the transfers of judges, a new judge has now been assigned to the case and the case is to be re-heard all over again,” the JKCCS said.
On the night of 3/4 August 1998, 19 civilians (13 female/6 male including 11 children) were shot to death at point blank range in their homes in Sailan village allegedly by four Special Police Officers (SPOs) and personnel of the 9 Para commando battalion (under the control of Major Gaurav Rishi), an elite commando unit of the Indian Army. “Jammu and Kashmir police officers, including then Superintendent of Police (Poonch), J.P Singh, are also implicated in the crime and cover up.”