CoI starts probe into 2010 killings

Srinagar: Four months after its appointment by government, the one-man Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (retd) M L Koul has started investigations into the 2010 killings in the Kashmir Valley.
More than 120 people were killed by police and paramilitary CRPF personnel during the summer agitation in 2010.
Habibullah Bhat, Assessor-cum-Registrar of the Commission has issued public notice, seeking information about the killings from persons, associations or organisations within 30 days.
The notice, coinciding with the announcement of five-phased elections in the state, calls upon people to file complaint or allegations giving specific instances of misuse of authority committed by the forces personnel in the death of “some persons” and “to ascertain whether people killed in such incidents had any involvement in disturbance of the public order and tranquility.”
The statement, Bhat said, should contain facts divided into paragraphs to be numbered consecutively and should preferably be written in English.
“In case the complaint is written in any language other than English then an English translation of the same should be furnished along with five extra copies.”
A list of the documents, on which the complainant proposes to rely, should be furnished with a statement along with original or true copies of the documents, he said.
“A list of witnesses, if any, whom the (complainant) would like to be examined in support of the statement, should be furnished by giving (his or her) correct address.”
The Commission was appointed on June 20 this year, little over a month after ruling alliance of National Conference and Congress suffered drubbing in Lok Sabha elections, which saw three PDP and as many BJP members making it to the Indian Parliament.
The judicial commission has been tasked to enquire into the circumstances leading to deaths by firing, or otherwise, during “maintenance of law and order” in different districts of Valley during 2010.
Besides, it has been asked to find out the adequacy, or otherwise, of the force used; fix responsibility, wherever excessive force has been used; suggest measures to avert the recurrence of such incidents in future; and recommend the action to be taken against person(s) or authorities.
The Commission was asked to submit its report to the government within three months from the date of issuance of the formal notification—June 20.
On June 26, 2010, government had appointed two former judges of High Court, Justice (retd) Syed Bashir-ud-Din and Justice (retd) YP Nagrota, asking them to probe the killing of 17 youth in police and paramilitary CRPF firing. The Commission, appointed (vide notification SRO-283) had a life span of three months from the date of issuance of the notification and it expired on October 29, 2010.
The term of Commission was not extended and its purview remained restricted to the 17 killings—out of more than 120 deaths of unarmed protesters and bystanders at the hands of police and CRPF.
The CoI, as per government, had come to a halt as Justice Bashir-ud-Din demitted office of chairman SHRC on June 24, 2011 while Justice Nagrota tendered resignation as member of the Commission with effect from August 21, 2011 expressing “inability to continue its member because of his assuming office as chairman of State Accountability Commission.”
Later, in July last year, Director General of Police filed a compliance report before J&K High Court during the hearing of a PIL stating that the CoI stands expired and “no useful purpose would be served by constituting it afresh.”
“The (CoI) stands expired, and under the existing laws, it was not found feasible to restore this already constituted Commission to start working from the stage of work left over earlier,” then DGP Ashok Prasad had said.
Justice Koul, who discharged his duties as judge J&K High court from October 14, 1991 to October 31, 1994, was also on October 4 last, appointed head of a one-man Commission to inquire into the circumstances that led to firing by CRPF in which four persons were killed at Gangran, Shopian on September 7 last coinciding with a musical concert by Zubin Mehta in the Shalimar Gardens on the banks of Dal Lake. The Commission has already submitted report to the government.
In 2008, Justice Koul was appointed by then government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad to enquire into the causes, circumstances and conspiracy, if any, in Ganderbal fake encounter killings of 2008.