Sopore massacre survivors challenge CBI’s closure report

Sopore massacre survivors challenge CBI’s closure report
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Srinagar: The survivors of January 06, 1993 Sopore massacre on Saturday filed a petition before TADA court, Srinagar against the closure report of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2013, seeking further investigation in the case.
Contesting the rationale of the CBI to close the case, the protest petition said that it appears only 11 civilian witness statements have been taken by the investigators.
“In reality, there are numerous witnesses whose evidence must be recorded by the CBI,” said the petition.
On January 06, 1993, Paramilitary BSF killed 55 civilians and torched nearly 200 houses in retaliation to killing of one of its men in a militant attack.
After the incident, the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India on January 20, 1993 entrusted investigation of two FIR’s numbering 8 and 9 of 1993 dated January 06, 1993 registered in the case at police station Sopore to Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) on the request of Jammu and Kashmir government.
The FIR number 9 was registered on the basis of a written complaint lodged by Commandant, 94 Bn. BSF while FIR no 8 was registered on the basis of written complaint and oral disclosure of the complainant, Syed Mohammad Ilyas, President, Anjuman Moinul Islam, Sopore.
On January 13, 1993 the case under FIR number 8 was handed over to Crime Branch, Srinagar for investigation by the order of Government of J&K, but on January 16, 1993, the crime branch again handed over the case to SHO Sopore and was subsequently handed over to CBI on January 23, 1993.
However, after 20 years of the incident, the CBI on December 04, 2013 filed a closure report in the case before the TADA court, Srinagar saying that “investigation could not reveal anything.”
“During investigation, vigorous efforts were made by CBI to contact and examine the local people and eye witnesses acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the incidents, but none of them volunteered to come forward,” said the CBI report.
The report also said that during investigation, the witnesses examined by the local police and CBI, including the injured witnesses, were unable to identify the BSF personnel involved in the incident and they could not give the details of the firing and cross firing.
“As such, without proper identification of the suspects, it was not possible to ascertain the persons involved in the alleged incident,” the report said.
The report also said that an enquiry was also initiated by BSF, General Security Force Court (Court Martial) into the incident in which “erring BFS officials/officers have been tried under BSF Act, 1968 for commission of offences u/s 304,307 and 436 RPC r/w section 34 of RPC were punished and sentenced accordingly.”
However, the victim survivors in their protest petition claim that the court martial conducted by BSF was an attempt to “cover up” the massacre as the information gathered through RTI has revealed that only seven BSF personnel prosecuted were ultimately found guilty that too of small offences like “mischief by fire or explosion substance with intent to destroy houses.”
The petition also said that the maximum punishment granted to the erring personnel was three months in force custody.
“Further, the CBI record already has names of ten BSF officers/personnel who could be indicted in this case, including then DIG R.S. Jasrotia, Sector Headquarters, BSF, Baramulla and Commandant S. Thanggapan, 94th Battalion, BSF,” said the petition.
Meanwhile, the court has asked the CBI, and specifically, DSP Vijay Kumar Shukla, who investigated the case to appear before the court on the next date of hearing on July 14, 2014.