SRINAGAR: A court in Srinagar rejected bail application of a former member of pro-government militia Ikhwan accused of murdering three members of a family in a Pulwama village in 1996. The bail plea was rejected for the third time.
The main accused in the case Mushtaq Ahmed Ganai is on bail for the last several years on health grounds.
Additional public prosecutor Jahanara Shah argued before 3rd additional sessions judge, Naseer Ahmed Dar that the accused cannot be
given bail as there is apprehension that he might run away from the state or he may try to influence victim’s family by threatening them.
After hearing arguments, court was satisfied and convinced that accused Mushtaq Ahmed Dar cannot be granted bail. The accused Mushtaq Ahmed Dar is languishing in central jail for the past 14 years with co-accused Bashir Ahmed, also an Ikhwani. One of the prime accused in this case Ghulam Nabi Wani is already dead while Mushtaq Ganaie is out on bail.
This episode is of 11/12 January, 1996 when a group of Ikhwani’s namely Khawja Commando Force were beating some local people at Keegam village in Pulwama without any reason.
After their continuous aggression on local people, some senior residents of the village approached district commissioner Pulwama to lodge a complaint.
But DC Pulwama at that time showed his inability to act against them citing that on ground level army has full powers and Ikhwan is their main wing. The DC suggested lodging complaint with army commander who was by chance visiting DC office for a meeting.
Eventually a meeting was arranged with the army General and four senior residents of the village went inside and lodged a complaint against Ikhwan group of inflicting torture and harassing local people.
After the residents left the DC office, the next morning a group of soldiers and some Ikhwanis cordoned off the house of one of the complainants namely master Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh. He was whisked away to a nearby village where he was ruthlessly tortured. He was released two hours later.
“I was beaten to pulp. They tied me with ropes and dragged me,” Sheikh said.
A few days later, the Ikhwanis and army again came to our house during the intervening night of 11 and 12 January 1996, narrated Sheikh. “We didn’t open the door. The raiders broke the widow and forced their entry. Three Ikhwanis asked me to present myself before their ‘commander’. I refused and told them to bring the commander to this room,” he said.
“On my refusal to leave the room, Mushtaq Ahmed called his commander Mushtaq Ganaie. As he entered the room he fired three bullets towards me,” Sheikh said.
Sehikh’s younger brother, a doctor by profession, came to his rescue but the Ikhwanis opened fire on him. He died instantly. “Then my second brother was shot. The Ikhwanis fired indiscriminately and some bullets hit the limbs of my niece,” he said.
“After they left, neighbours came to our house and with Allah’s mercy not a single bullet had touched my body but I have lost my two brothers and younger daughter of my deceased brother was permanently disabled.” “After hue and cry over the carnage, the government provided security to our family but the Ikhwanis continued to threaten us.
No police station ready to lodge an FIR against the killers,” Sheikh said.
He said that in pursuit of justice he approached the home minister of India but it did not mitigate his problems. “On my return to Kashmir, I was advised not to go back to Pulwama village. I was given accommodation at at Tulsibagh and finally after my relentless efforts, an FIR was lodged against the killers and they were arrested,” he said.
“I am fighting this case and I will fight it till the end. I am very disappointed with the judicial system. Even after 20 years, the case is not being decided despite clinching evidence against the killers,” he said.