Now Home department seeking English translation of complaints, witnesses
Srinagar: It took five years but the J&K Home Department has finally submitted its reply to the SHRC in a petition related to the Khanyar massacre of 1991. The reply, though, makes for disappointing reading. It says the Home Department has denied sanction to the case, on one pretext then another, the latest of which is that the police do not possess an English translation of the FIR and of statements of witnesses.
Now the police are working on the translations, so that the file can be “immediately” sent back to the Home Department.
A petition was filed before the SHRC (State Human Rights Commission) in 2013 by activist Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, seeking justice for the massacre in which 22 civilians were killed by government forces in Srinagar’s Khanyar area. The J&K Home Department has now stated in its reply that the police investigation into the case is in want of an English translation of the First Information Report (FIR) and of statements of witnesses.
A police report dated January 16, 2018, states that the Home Department kept returning the file sent to it for sanction. The last time it returned the file was in December last year.
“The file was submitted to Home Department for accord of government sanction, wherefrom the case file was returned with some observations/queries. The same were replied (to) and the file was again submitted to government Home Department for accord of sanction, but the same has been received back from said department vide letter number Home/Pros/23/2017/5225 dated 14/12/2017 for English translation of copy of FIR, statement of witness, final report and incriminating material relied upon and other documents in the CD file. The file will be submitted back to government Home Department immediately after translation of the requisite documents by IGP Kashmir Zone Srinagar,” the police report states.
When Untoo’s petition was filed on February 28, 2013, before the SHRC, the commission sought a report from Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, on the investigation into the Khanyar massacre. As yet, nothing substantial has been filed before the commission.
The petition states that on May 8, 1991, when a peaceful procession carrying bodies of persons killed in government forces’ firing in Dachigam and of those killed in government forces’ firing in Srinagar’s Saida Kadal locality, were being brought for burial, the government forces deployed at Khanyar opened fire on the mourners and killed 22 unarmed civilians, while injuring more than 52 others.
“In this incident, one infant aged two years and his father were also killed. Also, four persons of the same family got killed,” Untoo stated in his petition.
“After sometime when the firing stopped, people tried to move to their respective places, (when) a group of para-military forces coming from Nowhatta started firing again on the passers-by, due to which some more persons got killed and a number of others injured,” the petition stated before the SHRC, adding, “This again is clear evidence that innocent people are being killed in Kashmir. In this incident, five ladies namely Fatima of Khanyar, Shamima of Rainawari, Samina of Rainawari, Dedri of Rajouri Kadal, Khati of Seshagari Mohalla Khanyar, and an infant of two years were killed.”
“Some official was nominated by the government to look into the massacre. However, people rejected the appointment. Later a public inquiry commission headed by a retired judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice MB Farooq, was appointed,” the petition stated.