Mere Eyewash

In keeping with a practice governments here have been following since 1964 ‘to bring truth to the fore,’ the state’s current rulers have ordered yet another probe, this time to ascertain the truth about the killing of a boy in Narbal. The magisterial inquiry announced on Sunday night is likely to prove to be one more statistical slight on a people deemed to deserve neither justice nor justification for the countless young lives snuffed out over the past twenty-five years.

In 1964, a probe was ordered into the mysterious disappearance of the Holy Relic from the Hazratbal shrine, and people are waiting for its indings to this day. In February 1975, Peoples League activist GN Bulla was killed in custody. A probe was ordered, and there the matter rests. Since 1996, ‘democratic’ governments have ordered as many as 150 probes into killings and rights abuses, but only one  was taken to conclusion, leading to the arrest of a few BSF men for killing a Nishat boy, Zahid Farooq, on February 5, 2010.

As many as 40 probes had been ordered during the tenure of Dr. Farooq Abdullah. Following the massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chittisinghpora, the police claimed to have killed five ‘foreign’ militants at Panchalthan, who, it said, had been involved in the carnage. Samples from the bodies of the slain foreign militants were sent for DNA analysis when people contested the police claims, but even the reports were fudged. The Valley erupted when the news was leaked, and Dr Abdullah had to make a statement in the legislative assembly, and appointed Justice GA Kuchey to investigate the matter, asking him to submit a 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 from November 2002 to August 2008. Reports were received in 29 cases and action taken against violators in 15 cases. In the remaining 14, no action had been recommended by authorities. But according to independent sources, action was taken in just six cases. A total of 43 Judicial/Magisterial/ Administrative probes were ordered during Mufti Sayeed’s 3-year rule. Action was taken in 4 cases, and constituted of reinstating the accused officers. Twenty-eight probes were ordered by Ghulam Nabi Azad’s government. Action was taken in 2 cases. One was stayed by a court. Similarly, six probes were ordered by NN Vohra. Nothing came out. Omar Abdullah also ordered scores of probes. Barring the probe into Zahid Farooq’s killing, all others were hushed up. Who can guarantee that the inquiry into the Narbal killing will not meet the same fate?