2010 Anantnag killings: Pace of investigation tardy, unacceptable, says HC

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has pulled up police for its “tardy” investigation into the killing of two youths in Anantnag district of south Kashmir during the 2010 agitation.
“The investigation of the case is tardy…investigating agency has to gear-up and ensure completion of the investigation at an earliest,” a bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir observed while hearing a petition filed by the families of the victims—Bilal Ahmad Najar and Noor-ul-Amin Dugga.
The duo was killed on September 19, 2010 when cops opened fire on the funeral procession of another youth Maroof Ahmad Nath whose body was recovered on the fateful day after he drowned in the Jhelum on September 13 while being chased by police and CRPF personnel.
“Time and again directions have been issued so as to ensure that the investigation, in a fair manner, is concluded at an earliest. It is true that a number of witnesses have been examined but the pace of the investigation is very slow, unacceptable,” the court said
Families of the victims have furnished a list of 101 witnesses to police, and according to a status report filed by the investigating officer, 47 of them have been examined so far.
“In order to avoid any further prolongation, investigating officer shall ensure examination of witnesses as furnished by the complainant,” the court said and directed the officer to file fresh status report on the next date of hearing in the case in the first week of February.
“It is made clear to the investigating officer that he must issue notices to all witnesses, and while filing fresh status must clearly indicate as to whether notices have been served upon the witnesses with their responses,” the court said.
The police had initially refused to register an FIR, contending that a case (FIR No. 355/2010) was already registered with regard to the drowning incident.
In one of the earlier hearings, the court observed that the manner in which investigation has been conducted in the case “does raise some eyebrows”.
It had also observed that the twin killings deserve special attention and that the investigation was to be concluded with convenient speed.
In November 2012, a bench of Justice Virender Singh had withdrawn the proceedings of the case before Chief Judicial Magistrate Anantnag for monitoring by the High Court so as to avoid “miscarriage of justice.”
Earlier, the High Court had also set aside orders of a Sessions Court in Anantnag whereby it had cancelled the directions by CJM Anantnag, directing SSP Anantnag, SHO Police Station to register a fresh case.
In its report, the State Human Rights Commission had stated that the case (FIR No. 355/2010 under section 188, 147, 148, 336, 427, 307 RPC, 3-4 Public Property [Prevention of Damages] Act-1985) was registered actually against the two slain youths.
Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom represented the victim families while AGG M A Chashoo defended respondents in the case.