KPs Seek Fresh Probe Into Wandhama Massacre

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Sangharsh Samiti Questions Credibility Of CID Report To SHRC

In a new twist to the 1998 Wandhama massacre in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, in which 23 Kashmiri Pandits were killed, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti Monday joined issue with the CID before the State Human Rights Commission.

In a representation addressed to members of a division bench of SHRC, Samiti president, Sanjay K. Tickoo, questioned the superintendent of police, Human Rights, CID Headquarters, letter (No CID/HR/SHRC-250/2008 dated: 27/01/2012), a copy of which has been provided to the Pandit organization during recent hearing on August 29, 2012.

Questioning the credibility of police investigation, Tickoo said that “Police department, with very little evidence on record cannot conclusively prove that those 20 foreign militants killed were involved in Wandhama massacre. Also, with lack of credible investigation, the Police Department has closed the case as untraced even when according to their own admission, the one more militant responsible for massacre is at large.”

He urged the SHRC to order its own Police Investigation Wing for a fresh thorough investigation to ascertain the identities of those involved in the massacre and to help instill confidence among Kashmiri minorities.

According to Tickoo, the CID department alleged the massacre had been carried out by “some unknown militants” and, based on the suspicion of locals, it had been ascertained that militants of Harkat-ul-Ansar had been responsible for it.

He said the CID further claimed that on 17th February 1998, hills of Safapora had been cordoned and six militants of Harkat-ul-Ansar killed while one was apprehended after being injured. “The injured militant, on being interrogated, according to CID, “divulged the details regarding the involvement of 21 members of Harkat-ul-Ansar in the killing.”

“The injured militant, before his death on 24th February 1998, also informed the police about Captain Shair Khan, the Commander of Harkat-ul-Ansar, who ordered the massacre of Kashmiri Pandits,” Tickoo said, quoting the CID letter, according to which “13 other foreign militants” also involved in the killings were killed,” were killed later.

In his representation to the SHRC, Tickoo has sought copies of FIRs and investigation reports under which the CID had claimed that the foreign militants had been killed in encounters with armed forces. “Based on this CID response, there should be two FIRs where the killings of these foreign militants has been registered and investigated,” he said.

“If the police have filed FIRs regarding the encounters in which these foreign militants were killed then surely police would have identified these foreign militants responsible for killing,” Tickoo said, urging the police to “be asked to provide list of the 20 foreign militants killed and the place where they have been buried.”

According to CID letter, Tickoo said, statement of the injured militant, who later died in hospital, was “crucial, as that forms the basis of police investigation.” He urged the SHRC to order the police department to submit the statement of the injured militant. He demanded the officers responsible for investigating and recording the injured militant’s statement be asked to depose before the Commission.

With 20 of the 21 militants claimed to have been involved in the massacre, Tickoo urged the SHRC to ascertain the fate of the one militant believed to be still at large. “Who was the one militant who was neither killed nor apprehended by the police so far,” he asked.

Tickoo said the injured militant must surely have identified the six militants shot on February 17, 1998, as also the “other 14 persons” involved in the crime. “It needs to be ascertained what is the basis on which police claims that the 13 other foreign militants who were later killed were also involved in the Wandhama massacre,” he asks. Observer News Service

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