Witnesses depose before court in Showkat Kataria fake encounter killing

Srinagar: A court in Srinagar on Saturday recorded the statements of two witnesses in connection with the 2006 fake encounter killing of Showkat Ahmed Kataria, a cleric at local mosque in Alamgiri Bazaar Srinagar.
The witness, Imtiyaz Ahmed, a police constable, told the court that on 5 October 2006 he passed a message to Police Control Room Srinagar that one militant namely Abu Zahid of Karachi Pakistan has been buried at Ajas Bandipora and investigation is going on there.
He also “passed signal” to then SP Hazratbal Javaid Koul.
The other witness, Ghulam Mohammad Khatana, then Naib Tehsildar of Ajas told the court that District Commissioner Baramulla directed him to go to Baazipora, Ajas along with SP Javaid Koul with three other police officers who were eyewitness of the killing.
They identified the spot where Kataria was killed. During investigation an AK-47 and dead cartridges were recovered near the spot which was sealed by him and a seizure memo was prepared.
In the FIR, the RR unit and SOG had labeled Kataria as Abu Zahid of Karachi Pakistan. However, later identification of his body and subsequent DNA test confirmed that he was a civilian.
As per the Special Investigation Team, Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Choont Waliwar Ganderbal, who intended to lead the prayers at Zadibal, had hatched a conspiracy with Constable Tariq Ahmad Lone of Kupwara to eliminate Kataria.
Lone informed Gudoo, who was in charge SOG camp Ganderbal, about the plan and finally the preparations were finalized with SSP Parrihar and DSP Bahadur Ram, the SIT had said.
The cops contacted army’s Vikram Singh and the plan was executed as SOG and the military kidnapped Kataria from the mosque on the fateful day and later killed him in fake encounter at Ajas Bandipora. Kataria was passed off as Pakistan militant Abu Zahid.
All the six accused in the killing were present before the court including Parrihar. The next date of hearing is on 15 June.