SRINAGAR: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) came down heavily on the state police on Friday for failing for the last 15 years to complete investigations into the custodial killing of detenu Abdul Hamid Gani.
The commission directed the Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, to remain present before it on 2 April, 2018. Direction was also passed to Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, to consider granting of ex-gratia under SRO-43 to the victim’s family.
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, who was present before the commission couldn’t explain the report filed by Senior Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal.
The commission’s Chairman, Justice (rtd.) Bilal Nazki, remarked that it is very unfortunate that the police has failed to complete the investigation for the last 15 years and justice has eluded the victim and his family all this time.
“This commission is therefore directing SP Ganderbal to be present on next hearing and also victim’s family is directed to move an application before deputy commissioner Ganderbal for consideration of granting ex-gratia relief under SRO-43,” the commission ruled.
The SHRC in its previous order had directed SP Ganderbal to remain present before it to explain a report filed by him on 31 January 2017, which stated that “custodial killing of Abdul Hamid Gani has been established after verification of the case”.
The report states that the death of the deceased took place when he was in the custody of Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel. It also states that the circumstances of death are doubtful as the doctor who had conducted the post-mortem had stated that “he was incompetent to carry the medical investigation but he was forced by around 36 security men to write the report”.
The SHRC was hearing a petition filed by rights activist Ahsan Untoo which alleges that the Ganderbal SOG had apprehended Abdul Hamid Gani of Preng Kangan on 11 September 2003 and had subjected him to physical torture by giving him electric shocks and picking flesh from his body. The victim died in custody, after which a false encounter was shown to cover up the case. After the petition was filed, the SHRC directed the police to reopen the case and investigate it properly.
The police report submitted before the commission said that a case FIR no.143/2003 stands registered in Police Station Ganderbal after receiving a written complaint from SI Ashok Kumar of police component Ganderbal to the effect that the said police station, along with 65 Bn CRPF, apprehended one suspect, Abdul Hamid Gani of Preng Kangan, who during interrogation admitted his involvement in subversive activities and his affiliation with the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant outfit and also admitted that he was a close aide of HM divisional commander Sajad Khan of Gutlibagh.
On his confession, two hand grenades and four UBGLs were recovered from a hideout in Gutlibagh. The police party with him went to the said place, whereupon militants opened fire, which was retaliated and 5RR was also called.
A heavy gunfight took place in which Gani was killed. An FIR was registered, and the case was closed. “After the case was closed, Abdul Rashid Gani, brother of the deceased, lodged a complaint in PS Kangan alleging that his brother was kidnapped by STF personnel and killed in a fake encounter.
“Subsequently an FIR no.132/2003 was registered in PS Kangan which was later cancelled and clubbed with FIR no.143/2003 of PS Ganderbal. Executive Magistrate Kangan ordered for fresh investigation in the case. Upon verification, custodial killing of the deceased was established.”
The case now continues under investigation and new witnesses have been recorded. “Also correspondence has been made with 5RR and 65 Bn CRPF to ensure presence of eye witnesses. In reply 5 RR has stated that after carrying detailed check of all records, no details of the subject case are available with the unit. However 65 Bn response is awaited,” the report states.