Srinagar: A key witness in the 1996 murder of a Srinagar contractor testified during the trial on Wednesday the involvement of his former leader and notorious government gunman Ghulam Mohammad Lone alias Papa Kishtwari.
The contractor, Ali Mohammad Mir, 45, of Nishat was abducted and later murdered allegedly by Kishtwari on June 29, 1996.
“It was month of June. There were a numbers of boys (accomplices) in the lawn of Kishtwari’s old house at Pampore. When I reached there, the boys told me that the man who has been kept in the house is from Harwan and is about to die,” Nazir Ahmad Sheikh, 40, who was working with Kishtwari, disposed before 1st Additional Sessions Judge Srinagar Subash C Gupta.
“When I went upstairs, I saw a man who was handcuffed from behind and blindfolded. He was Ali Mohammad Mir as I knew him being my neighbour. On the fateful night, I was posted as a guard in the bunker,” Sheikh said. “At around 10-11 in the night, I heard someone crying ‘Papa save me’. The screams went on for about five minutes and then suddenly stopped.”
On hearing the screams, Sheikh said, he was frightened and could not immediately confirm who was crying and from where the screams were coming from.
“Next morning when I went into the room, Ali Mohammad Mir was not there. On enquiring from the boys who were in the lawn on that day, they told me they had thrown Mir in a river,” Sheikh said. “The (gunmen) included Gulzar, Khursheed, Cobra, Bashir, etc. And all of them were guards of Papa Kishtwari. Among them, Gulzar and Khursheed are present here.”
Papa Kishtwari, a notorious government gunman who hails from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district and was a tenant in Pampore, was arrested in 2008 in a case pertaining to land grab of a local graveyard and was later arrested when his cronies opened fire on protestors and injured two local residents.
He is blamed for a number of killings especially in south Kashmir’s Pampore town.
Ali Mohammad Mir’s son Zahoor Ahmad had lodged a case in the police Station Nishat accusing Kishtwari of being involved in the disappearance and subsequent murder of his father.
Zahoor had said that his father was murdered by Kishtwari’s men at Frestabal, Pampore. Mir’s body was later thrown into the Jhelum. After 11 years of refusal, police filed an FIR (16/2007) in Police Station Nishat on March 2, 2007.