SRINAGAR: The killing of notorious Ikhwani Abdul Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa inside his home in Hajin Bandipora has exposed the police claim that his house and property had been “attached” in accordance with a court order. The families of seven civilians killed by Billa in Saderkoot village of Bandipora on October 5, 1996, had been complaining that Billa’s property had been attached only on paper, and the state was shielding him and the two other accused in the Saderkoot massacre case — Mohammad Ayub Dar of Hakhbura and Wali Mohammad Mir of Dudwan, Saderkoot Bala.
On April 11 last year, the judicial magistrate Bandipora had declared Billa and the two other accused as proclaimed offenders and had directed the district commissioner Bandipora to attach the immovable property of all of them. Following this order, the police had told the court that the property of the three accused had been sealed and that they were absconding arrest.
Sumbal Tehsildar Moeen Kakroo had told Kashmir Reader that Billa’s property had been attached and the government records show that. But the victim families repeatedly alleged that the seizure was only “superficial” and “ineffective” as the accused continued to have “full access” to their property.
“While the police have locked the front doors of the residences, the accused continue to have access to their residence through other entrances. In case of lands, the accused continue to use these lands for agricultural purposes,” the victim families had written in their representation to deputy commissioner Bandipora on June 7 last year.
A statement issued by JK Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) in June last year had said that Billa and his two accomplices were being shielded by the state. “Despite intervention of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the state, including the police and the civil administration, appears to be involved in the protection of Rashid Billa and his associates,” the JKCCS had said.
Human rights lawyer Parvez Imroze told Kashmir Reader that if the police had indeed implemented the court order, Rashid Billa could have been tried with due legal procedure.
“Since the last three years we were following this case to bring the accused to trial. But police repeatedly shielded him and in fact misled the court about the implementation of court orders,” Imroze said.
Pointing to the presence of Billa at his house when he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen, Imroze said that it shows the sincerity of the police claim that Billa was absconding and his property had been attached.
Imroze said that if Billa had been arrested, there might have been more revelations about his “unheard crimes” and other accomplices in his crimes.
In March this year, as per the JKCCS, the victim families had received threats to their life from Rashid Billa. “A neighbour of the families had visited Amritsar a few days ago and on his return he informed the families on 8 March 2017 that he had met Abdul Rashid Parray on a roadside in Amritsar. Abdul Rashid Parray told him that he would not spare the family members of the victims who have been seeking justice in this case,” the JKCSS said in a statement.
There are fears now that the two other accused – Wali Mohammad Mir and Mohammad Ayoub Dar – who the police say are absconding, may be killed as well.
“We fear that the rest of the two might meet the same fate. There seems no honest effort from the police to nab them,” Imroze said.
Station House Officer Sumbal, Mehboob Wani told Kashmir Reader that police had attached the property of Billa and they had no knowledge of how Billa and his family managed to enter the house.
“We don’t remain there (at the attached property) all the time. We don’t know what happens there. Besides, the situation has not been well from the past one year,” Wani said.
The SHO Hajin refused to comment on the issue.
The Senior Superintendent of Police Bandipora confirmed that Billa was killed inside his house and said that he would seek details from the officer concerned.