HC tells state to treat man killed by army as civilian

HC tells state to treat man killed by army as civilian
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Army had claimed him to a militant guide

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed state government to treat the death of a man killed in 1993 as a civilian death caused by firing by army personnel instead of militancy related incident.
Ahmad Lone of Kupwara was killed by army in 1993, claiming him to be a militant guide who had attacked a patrol party.
Lone’s son was a porter with the army, who according to case diary, had asked his father to help him in carrying a heavy consignment, on the day he went missing.
Accepting the inquiry report submitted by the Principal Sessions Judge, Kupwara, Justice Hanjura directed that Lone’s killing be treated as civilian death caused by firing of army personnel and the kin of the deceased be entitled to benefits available to dependent of such civilians killed in action.
“The concerned authority shall consider the claim for permissible benefits like ex-gratia, compassionate appointment or payment of cash compensations in lieu of compassionate appointment etc, as may be permissible under the applicable norms/Rules of the state, within a period of two months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order.” The court said.
According to the case diary, Ahmad Lone’s son, Abdul Ahad Lone was working as a casual labour with the army carrying loads from base camp to advanced pickets in forest ranges of Kupwara.
Ahad Lone, who is also the petitioner, on May 18, 1993 he was given a very heavy load to carry, therefore, he asked his father, Ahmad Lone, to help him. After helping his son, Ahmad Lone left for his home. In the evening, when the petitioner reached home he found his father had not returned and he went to the army camp and reported about his father missing.
Ahad Lone also filed a report with Police Station Kupwara, and after permission was granted, after eight days, to search for the dead body, they found the body kept under bushes.
On May 21, 1993 a report was lodged by Major Pankaj Joshi of 12 Mahar Regiment with Police Station Kralpora stating that the patrolling party noticed one person in suspicious manner.
“The said person lobbed grenades on the patrolling party and in the encounter he was seriously injured.”
As per the report, the person before succumbing to his injuries revealed the patrolling party that he was acting as guide.
IN 2012, the High Court had asked the Sessions Judge, Kupwara to inquire into the matter and submit a report within four months.
The Sessions judge report concluded that the the deceased Ahmad Lone S/o Akbar Lone R/o Budhambal was a civilian and was not connected with any militant organization and was not a guide of militants.
In its reply, the state counsel reiterated that the deceased was involved in the militancy related activities and was a guide of militants.
He said that the investigation was conducted by the police authorities and closure report was submitted before the Court of competent jurisdiction and the same stands accepted. However, he fairly conceded before the Court that the findings recorded by the Principal Session Judge, Kupwara have not been challenged either by the Police authorities or by the army authorities.
The court held that admittedly, the investigation conducted by the police authorities concluded the case as ‘not traced’ whereas in the inquiry conducted by the Sessions Judge, Kupwara in terms of order of this Court, it has been concluded that the death of the deceased had not occurred in any militancy related incident and thus, would be deemed as a death of a civilian caused by firing by the army personnel.