SHRC seeks reports from police, army on accused soldier’s death

Srinagar: A day after an Army soldier accused in a fake currency racket allegedly committed suicide in police custody, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Friday took suo moto cognizance of the matter and sought reports from police and army regarding the incident.
Rafiq Fida, the acting chairman of SHRC, issued notices to SHO police station Ram Munshi Bagh, Srinagar, Director General of Police , DC Srinagar, CO 166 territorial Army to submit their reports regarding the incident by or before the next date of hearing which has been fixed for May 6.
The notices were issued after SHRC took cognizance of news reports about death of a soldier of 166 Territorial Army (TA) Muneer Ahmad Manhas of Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in Police Station Ram Munshi Bagh Srinagar on April 3.
“Manhas had dinner on Wednesday as routine and went to bed in the lockup and entered the bathroom inside the lockup during night and hanged himself to death by using a pair of socks to hang himself by tying them with one another,” the Commission’s order reads. The Commission has said: “They (family) further alleged that Muneer and his brother-in-law Tariq Ahmad received a phone call on Wednesday morning from a local Police Inspector identified as Javed Ahmad stationed in Kupwara who took them to Ram Munshi Bagh Police Station and on Thursday Police informed them that Muneer has been found dead in the Police Station.”
The family of Manhas has strongly negated the version of Police that the deceased was involved in fake currency racket and said that he was working in Territorial Army and if there were any charges against him the Police could have easily approached the concerned Battalion for his arrest, the commission has said. Fida has observed that the news items prima facie make out a case of human rights violations. “Therefore, taking Suo Moto cognizance in the matter, Office is directed to register this note and the news reports…. which shall form part of this order, as a complaint and in the first instance issue notices to Director General of Police, J&K, Dy. Commissioner Srinagar/Baramulla, Commanding Officer 166 Territorial Army C/O 56 APO and SHO P/S R. M. Bagh, Srinagar for their respective detailed factual reports in the matter. A copy of today’s order and press clippings be also sent to them,” the Commission has ordered. Manhas’s family has also been directed to appear on the next date of hearing and file correct statement of facts regarding the incident.