2001 custodial disappearance: Stay on parade of IG ITBP only, Says SC

Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India has directed continuation of stay on identification parade of an Inspector General Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in connection with abduction and subsequent disappearance of a youth from Verinag in Anantnag district of south Kashmir in 2001.
Hearing a petition, a division bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu said that stay shall continue only as regards the IGP, Inder Singh Negi, and not other accused from the ITBP.
“Interim order (June 18, 2014) passed by this Court, granting stay of (High court) order (of
May 22, 2014) to continue qua petitioner (Negi) only, till further orders,” said the bench also comprising Justice A.K. Sikri.
On May 22 last year, the J&K High Court had directed Negi and Dr P S Gunjiyal (then CMO) to appear before investigation officer (IO) so that identification parade is fixed and “the investigation that is already delayed, is concluded without any further delay.”
The High Court had passed the directions on a contempt petition filed by Ghulam Hussain Koka, father of Muhammad Ashraf Koka, the disappeared youth.
According to the family, Ashraf was picked up by the ITBP personnel from his residence, Kokagund, Verinag, on October 27, 2001 at 7:30 pm on the ruse to guide them in the village. That was the last time when the family saw Ashraf.
The family had unsuccessfully tried to get a missing complaint filed in the police station Anantnag, and it was only after the court intervention that an FIR no. 96/2001 U/S 364, 302, 201 RPC and 7/25 Arms Act was lodged.
Later father of the victim, disappointed by the mode and manner of investigation in FIR, approached the High Court.
As per police, 11 ITBP personnel suspected to be involved in the youth’s disappearance, have been identified by the IO as Inder Singh Negi (then Commandant), R S Rana, Dr P S Gunjiyal, Inspector Rajinder Singh, SIs Partap Singh and Ram Pratab, Head Constables Hukum Singh and Ajeet Kumar, Sunil Joshi, and JCOs R S Chouhan and Mishra.
One of the 11 personnel, Hukum Singh, is stated to have been already identified by the witnesses for his involvement in the arrest of the youth after he and his colleague Ajeet Kumar were paraded before the witnesses on May 5, 2007.
The then second-in-command of the unit, R S Rana, has retired and is currently residing in Himachal Pradesh while Rajinder Singh has also retired and is presently in Uttarakhand while SI Pratap Singh died on August, 4, 2004.

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