Four bodies were untraced out of 14 people killed in BSF firing in Handwara
Srinagar: The State Human Rights commission (SHRC) on Monday came down heavily on Deputy Commissioner Kupwara for failing to publish, in local newspapers, names and photographs of the four “untraced persons” who were killed in Handwara by government forces on October 1, 1990, so that their kin can identify them and relief can be provided to them.
The commission while issuing notice to Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara under section 17 of J&K Protection of Human Rights Act said in a detailed order that in spite of orders passed on 15 December 2017, then again on 15 February, 14 April and 17 May of this year, the Deputy Commissioner Kupwara has not responded despite orders sent to him through fax also.
“This attitude of Deputy commissioner cannot be appreciated. Let a copy of this order go to Chief Secretary for his information. As the official has failed to issue advertisement in the newspapers despite repeated directions were passed to him. Therefore let this office issue a notice to local newspapers regarding the subject mat ter. The advertisement should request kin of four deceased persons to appear before commissio. Copy of this order be also sent to press,”Justice (Rtd.) Bilal Nazki said in today’s order.
The bodies of four persons, Ghulam Rasool Malik, Ghulam Rasool Sofi, Ghulam Rasool Hajam and Shahzad Ahmed Pir, who were killed in firing by BSF troops in Handwara, are still untraced, though the police have stated that bodies of all the 14 persons killed in that firing were handed over to their families.
The police report submitted to the SHRC reads that on 1st October, 1990, police personnel namely Abdul Hamid, Ali Mohammad, Farooq Ahmed, Sonaullah and Mohammad Maqbool were deputed in Handwara town for patrolling duties. In the meantime, fire engulfed the town and some police personnel tried to reach police station Handwara but it was cordoned off by 76 Bn of BSF (Border Security Force) under the command of Ratan Raveen.
“The BSF personnel forcibly entered inside the police station and threatened the police nafri to kill them and set ablaze the police station,” reads the report submitted by the CID wing of J&K Police to the SHRC.
Constable Ali Mohammad, Ghulam Nabi Shapoo (revenue clerk Handwara), Nazir Ahmed Khan of Chogal, Nazir Ahmed Dar of Braripora, Ghulam Rasool Malik of Khanbal, Ghulam Rasool Sofi of Kupwara, Ghulam Rasool Hajam, Mohammad Hayat Najar, Mohammad Amin Banday, Ghulam Nabi Mir, Mst Azize, Mehraj-ud-din Tantray and Shahzad Ahmed Pir, all from Handwara, were killed in BSF firing in 1990, says the report.
The police report further reads that a case under FIR No 119/1990 U/S 302, 307, 436 RPC was registered and during the course of investigation it was ascertained that due to firing by BSF personnel, 14 persons were killed including former MLC Ghulam Rasool Malik and police head constable Ali Mohammad.
“During the course of investigation all the legal formalities were completed and bodies of the deceased were handed over to their legal heirs for the last rites,” the report stated.
The petition in the SHRC was filed by the chairman of International Forum for Justice, Human Rights (JK), Ahsan Untoo, on Feb 28, 2013. The SHRC Vs Union of India case made the Union Home Secretary, DG Police J&K, IG BSF Kashmir Range and SHO P/S Handwara as respondents. The police submitted its report four years after the petition was filed.
The case has been listed as “closed” in the compliance report filed by the state DGP (Director General of Police). The report said that an identification parade was conducted before witnesses but no BSF personnel were identified.