Srinagar: Army on Tuesday informed the J&K high court that it has disbanded on March 10 this year a notorious militiaman wanted in the massacre of seven civilians at Sadrakoot, Bandipora, on 5 October 1996.
The police had written to the army on several occasions that it should hand over the gunman, Mohammad Ayub Dar, but to no avail.
The police said that Dar was working with the 161 battalion of the Territorial Army, but Assistant Solicitor General of India SA Makroo informed a single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey that Dar has been disbanded.
Investigating officer and station house officer of Sumbal police station Mehboob Hussain, who was present in the court, said he came to know about Dar’s disbanding “only now”.
Besides Dar, two other wanted militiamen of the dreaded government-sponsored militia, Ikhwan— Abdul Rashid Parray (alias) Rashid Billa and Wali Mohammad Mir— are also “absconding”.
“The investigating officer shall proceed in the matter and arrest the accused wherever they are,” the court said and granted three weeks’ “last chance”, as sought by the additional advocate general RA Khan.
He said that all steps necessary to arrest the accused trio have been taken and sought three weeks more time as “last chance” to arrest them and file the chargesheet before the competent court.
Advocate Pervaiz Imroz, counsel representing the victim families, said that the approach of state government as well as investigating officer has been casual.
“The concern of advocate Imroz is well registered,” the court said and granted the last opportunity to the IO to make the arrests.
“He shall avail all legal remedies in this behalf to avoid any difficulty of whatsoever nature, including approaching the judicial magistrate, for seeking necessary orders,” the court said and posted the case for hearing on April 16. It also directed the magistrate to pass orders of the arrest of the accused.
Meanwhile, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a human rights organization, blamed the government of India for having facilitated Dar’s escape.
“Rather than cooperating with investigations, (government of India) has effectively facilitated the escape of Mohammad Ayoub Dar,” said JKCCS.
It also said that 20 years after the massacre, the efforts of families of the victims have put pressure on the state to take serious steps to arrest the accused.