SRINAGAR: Nearly two months after the killing of a youth at Nawa Kadal here in CRPF firing, the 15-day magisterial probe into the incident is yet to conclude, which according to human rights activists demonstrates, yet again, the state government’s non-seriousness in finding and prosecuting human rights violators.
24-year-old Bashir Ahmad Bhat was killed when CRPF fired upon him on the evening of April 30—the day Lok Sabha polls were held in Srinagar. Bhat’s family and the eyewitnesses have said that the young businessman, who had received four bullets, was shot at without provocation. But the police dubbed him as a stone pelter who was killed “when CRPF opened fire to chase away a stone pelting mob that was trying to snatch rifle from a CRPF man.”
The killing had sparked violent protests and widespread criticism forcing the government to call a time-bound magisterial inquiry into the incident to be held by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar Farooq Shah. The probe, as per government order, was to be completed within 15 days.
However, till date the inquiry hasn’t made any progress, with the DC hoping to complete it within next 15 days.
“It is still incomplete, and it may take another 15 days,” Shah told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday. He admitted that the inquiry “isn’t at an advanced stage” and that no striking facts have come to fore.
“Actually, no one including the witnesses or family members, turned up for recording their statements. We issued a notification asking people to come forward, but no one turned up,” Shah said.
“(The probe) isn’t at an advanced stage,” he added, when asked about the status of the inquiry. “These things take time.”
Human rights groups, however, say the probe into Bashir’s killing reflects successive governments’ non-seriousness in probing incidents of human rights violations.
According to a prominent Kashmir-based human rights group, JK Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), the governments have ordered inquiries into 173 incidents of human rights violations since 2002, and none of them has yielded any result.
“None of these probes ended in prosecution of the guilty, and even the state government knows this. Therefore, these probes are just ordered to fool the people,” Khurram Parvez of JKCCS told Kashmir Reader.
The state has been reluctant to share information about fate of the probes ordered by successive governments into human rights abuses.
“We had sought information under RTI about status of all the probes conducted so far, but the state didn’t provide it, saying that it can be a threat to state. We took the matter to court, and it (court) directed the state to provide us the information. Instead of following court orders, the government is now going to challenge the ruling,” Parvez said.
“Problem is that the findings of these committees aren’t binding upon the state or its police. Question is why government orders these probes rather than asking the police for time-bound inquiry into the cases,” he said.