Like the word ‘regret’, which was profusely used by the army a day ago after shooting dead two teenage boys in a Maruti car in Chhattergam, ‘probe’ remains one of the most abused words in Kashmir. Since 1964, the government has been ordering investigations. But it appears that ordering probe has become an end in itself. Knowing well that ferreting out truth can have unsavoury consequences in a place where gun barrels speak more authoritatively than the ‘elected representatives’, the state has turned probes into an effective anti-insurgency tool. In 1964, a probe was ordered into the mysterious disappearance of the Holy relic from Hazratbal shrine. Till date, the people are yet to see the findings. In February 1975, Peoples League activist GN Bulla was killed in custody. A probe was ordered and the findings are still awaited. Since 1996, the ‘democratically-elected’ governments of Abdullahs and Muftis have ordered as many as 150 probes into killings and incidents of rights abuses. Only one probe was taken to logical conclusion, which led to the arrest of a few BSF men for killing a Nishat youth, Zahid Farooq, on February 5, 2010. Former chief minister and National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah ordered as many as 40 probes. Following the massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chittisinghpora, the army and the Special Operations Group claimed they gunned down five foreign militants responsible for the massacre.The DNA samples of the slain youth were taken to ascertain their identity when the local residents contested the police claims. The reports were fudged. The leak of fudging created uproar in the Valley. Dr Farooq responded by making a suo motto statement in the Legislative Assembly. He appointed Justice GA Kuchey to investigate the matter and submit his report within two months. The findings are still awaited. The trend continued in the PDP-Congress coalition regime. Seventy-one probes were ordered by the PDP-Cong government since November 2002 to August 2008. Reports were received in 29 cases and action was claimed to have been taken against the guilty in 15 cases. In the remaining 14 cases, no action had been recommended by the authorities. But according to independent sources, action was taken in only six cases. A total of 43 judicial/magisterial/administrative probes were ordered during Mufti Sayed’s three-year rule. Action was taken in four cases. However, the action taken against the guilty surprised and shocked the people. The guilty officers were reinstated. Twenty-eight probes were ordered by Ghulam Nabi Azad’s government. Action was taken in two cases. One was stayed by a court. Similarly six probes were ordered by NN Vohra. Nothing came out. Omar Abdullah has also ordered several probes. Barring the one mentioned above, all other probes have been hushed up.