Srinagar: The J&K High Court has given the state government three weeks to file a status report with respect to an FIR registered in connection with the custodial death of a 60-year-old man killed in 1997, allegedly in the Damhal Hanjipora army camp.
The deceased, Ghulam Mohammad Mir of Lakdipora, Damhal Hanjipora, Kulgam, was allegedly apprehended by army personnel of 2 RR during a crackdown on 6 March, 1997, and allegedly killed after severe torture.
The deceased’s son, Bashir Ahmed Mir, who filed a petition before the High Court through advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain, states that during a crackdown on 6 March, 1997, personnel of 2 RR apprehended the deceased along with other persons of his village. After several days, the other persons of the village were released, but, as per the petitioner, his father was not. The apprehended persons narrated that they were subjected to severe torture and beatings in the camp. They also stated that the deceased was subjected to severe torture, which led to his death.
The petitioner further states that the villagers came to know that the deceased’s body was lying in the Police Station DH Pora, Kulgam, and upon verification, the body of the deceased was in a pathetic condition and bore injury and burn marks.
After the news spread in the village, a heavy protest was lodged which compelled the police to register FIR number 9/1997 against army personnel of 2 RR. However, the army also filed a complaint before the police, stating that there was an explosion in the camp which resulted in the death of the deceased. They also stated that the deceased had links with terrorist outfits and that a recovery of arms/ammunition had been made upon his instance.
Prior to coming to court, the son of the deceased had filed a petition before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in 2010. The SHRC had remarked that it is established that the deceased was killed in army custody and had recommended that Rs 1 lakh be granted as ex gratia relief as well as benefits under SRO-43 to the deceased’s legal heirs. But the government has declined the recommendation by stating that the deceased was having links with “anti-national elements”.