Imam’s fake encounter killing: STD-PCO owner deposes before court

SRINAGAR: Owner of a local STD-PCO booth deposed before a court here on Wednesday in connection with the 2006 fake encounter killing of Imam Showkat Ahmad Kataria.
Kataria was killed in 2006 after he went missing from Zadibal locality in old Srinagar, where he was leading prayers at a local mosque.
The owner told the court that Kataria used to call his relatives and friends from his shop. He also disposed that he knew him as Kataria was leading prayers at the local mosque.
According to SIT, which probed the killing, Kataria was picked up by a joint party of Special Operations Group of Ganderbal police and 13 Rashtriya Rifles. A resident of Doligam-Jabdi, Banihal, Kataria was later killed and dubbed a Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant. His body was exhumed from Bazipora-Ajas in Bandipore on February 3, 2007, and his identity established after DNA tests.
The SIT filed a chargesheet against 11 persons, including five policemen as many army men and a civilian, a cleric who wanted to leader prayers at Zadibal, for the cold blooded murder.
While the policemen and the civilian were arrested, the army refused to hand over its accused soldiers, questioning the civil administrations authority to probe its men under AFSPA, the draconian law affording blanket immunity to Indian armed forces in Kashmir.
In October 2009, the court had framed charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and abduction against former Senior Superintendent of Police of Ganderbal Hans Raj Parihar, former DSP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Ahmad Gudoo and Constables Tariq Ahmad Lone and Manzoor Ahmad Malik and the civilian Mohammad Ashraf.