Palhalan killing: Probe over, report to be out this week

IRFAN MEHRAJ

Srinagar: The job offer to the family of a youth who was shot dead by police in Palhalan, Pattan on February 9 would not affect findings of the probe ordered into the killing, officials said Sunday.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Talat Parvaiz told Kashmir Reader that the family of 19-year-old Farooq Ahmad Bhat “has shown interest in the job offer.”
“The family was very much desirous of the job as they have already lost one of the bread winners; now they want some kind of succour,” he said.
Farooq was shot in the chest when police fired on a group of people protesting against police harassment of a family the previous night. He died on way to SKIMS, Srinagar.
The killing termed as “cold blood” murder by the local residents sparked massive anti-India protests, prompting Governor NN Vohra to order a probe. Police later filed a case under section 337 RPC (act of negligence by police officer causing death of a person) and section 304 (A) RPC, which is culpable homicide not amounting to murder. No counter FIR was filed by the family.
Senior police officials while “regretting” Farooq’s killing had said he was “innocent with having no prior record of stone-pelting”.
Meanwhile, the probe into Farooq’s killing is complete and is likely to be released in a couple of days, according to the Deputy Commissioner.
“The recording of the witnesses has taken time. From the both sides—the civilian and the police—the statements had to be recorded. Had it been only the civilians to record the witnesses it would have taken lesser time. I am expecting the probe report to be with me on Monday or Tuesday,” he said. He also admitted that there is no prior police record against the victim.
On being asked doesn’t offering the job to the victim’s family amount to bribing the family when the investigation into victim’s killing is still going on, Talat Parvaiz said, “Offering the job or any relief to the person who was killed in the incident will not affect the investigation? The terms of the investigation are different and extending relief is different.”
“The job offer (to Farooq’s kin) is an acknowledgment of the fact that he was not involved in any militant activity,” the Deputy Commissioner said. “If any person is injured during any disturbance caused by police action, we have to provide them relief. Any person getting injured during police action is entitled to the relief government has sanctioned. Had the victim been involved in any militant-related activity, his family was not entitled to any relief,” he said.
However, he said, no member of the Bhats seems eligible for the job. “But we will have to relax the conditions,” he said.
The Bhats’, on the other hand, said they will decide about the job offer after the probe report is out.
“I was not here when they (government officials) visited our house. We will decide only after the probe results are out,” Farooq’s brother Tariq Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.

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