‘Kashmir Vision’ senior staffer, Ishfaq Naseem, was threatened, detained and labelled as a ‘murderer’ by police today at Charar-i-Sharief police station as he had gone to collect the death certificate of his uncle.
Ishfaq’s uncle had died recently after he had a fall from stairs at his house. He was referred from the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) to the SMHS hospital where he breathed his last on 30 May. A death certificate was required to settle the insurance claim of the deceased who is survived by three girls and a son, all of whom are still in their early or late teens.
An application was filed at the police station a week back and even as the matter was being pursued by the relatives the police have been giving excuses not to issue a death certificate.
On 12 June today, as the family members along with Ishfaq went to the police station the concerned SHO told them that he can’t authenticate the circumstances under which the death took place. In presence of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), the SHO informed the family members that anyone among them could have been behind the death which according to the official, could have been even a murder.
When the SHO was confronted that as to why was not he investigating the case on his own and lodge an FIR, if he had the suspicion that any of the family members were responsible for the death and it was a case of murder, he argued back that it was the responsibility of the members to inform the police about the death.
“But when a medical certificate was produced which has been issued by the SMHS hospital recording the reason of the death and no medico-legal case was registered at the concerned police station, the SHO argued that he may have to go for the exhumation of the body,” Ishfaq said.
When he was again confronted that it was his job to register every death that had taken place in his jurisdiction, the SHO threatened the concerned family members of booking them under murder case. He started demanding the identity card from Ishfaq, a family member accompanying Ishfaq said.
The SHO used abusive language and the journalist and his uncle remained detained at the police station for nearly half an hour and it was only after the intervention of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) that they managed to move out from the heavily fortified police station.
The concerned police officials have been trying to seek bribe from the family members to issue a death certificate and giving excuses that the death was not registered in the daily dairy report. Infact when the SHO was told that the matter will be reported to the higher-ups, he threatened that he will call the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as he has access to her.
“The journalist is harassed and is facing a threat to his life as the SHO has threatened him of dire consequences,” added another family member.
The journalist is apprehending that the SHO may send in his police personnel and harass his other family members and turn the case of accidental death into a false case of murder.
“Our family demands that senior police officials should intervene in the matter and ensure that the safety of all family members is ensured at all cost,” said Ishfaq.