SHRC Reminds Omar Abdullah of His Promise

Rights body flays police for ‘intentional faulty investigations’ 

SRINAGAR: "The death of Anjum (Nazim) Rashid in police custody is a gross human rights violation and inexcusable. Things like this cannot be allowed to happen,” This is what Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had written on the micro-blogging site twitter when in July 2011 Nazim Rashid died in police custody. 

Reminding Omar Abdullah of his promise of providing speedy justice, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has lambasted the police for its “intentional faulty investigations" to let senior police officers – like Mohammad Altaf Khan (then Sopore Superintendent of Police) , Aashiq Hussain Tak (deputy SP of operations) and Iftikhar Talib (deputy SP Cargo ) off the hook.

The Inquiry Officer of this case said that he has already submitted his detailed report to State Home Department. “I have already submitted my report about this custodial killing to State Home Department and the ball is in their court now,” He said.

“Actually, I feel that some lower rung SOG personnel have been made scapegoats in the incident because the investigating officer (SHO Sopore) has not perhaps dared to touch the higher officers who by their intentional omission and commission, have contributed and are directly responsible for death of the deceased,” SHRC member Javaid Kawoosa observed in his order.

SHRC had taken suo moto cognisance of the case after Nazim, a shopkeeper in Sopore, was allegedly tortured to death hours after he was picked up by the SOG  and army’s Rashtriya Rifles personnel on July 30, 2011. 

The police claimed to have picked up the victim for questioning regarding a murder in the area.

The government within days ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident while Omar Abdullah publicly accepted the death as “a gross human rights violation and inexcusable”.

Human rights commission has made its observations by exclusively quoting from the investigation report submitted by sub-divisional magistrate of Sopore.

The commission informed that the police has filed the final report before the court of competent jurisdiction only against three persons- all lower rung SOG policemen (constables).

“After going through the magisterial enquiry report, it is clear higher officers Muhammad Altaf Khan, Aashiq Hussain Tak, Iftikhar Talib, sub-inspector Dilraj Singh... have interrogated and tortured Nazim Rashid Shalla in police custody which resulted in his death,” the SHRC observed.

The commission informed that the magisterial enquiry officer has also held Digvijay Singh, major in-charge of 52-Rastriya Rifles in Amargarh Sopore, equally responsible for being part in torturing and killing the youth.

“Even otherwise all these officers who have admitted to have seen the deceased under the SOG custody have by their omission directly contributed to the death of the deceased as they appeal to have failed to protect life of a person who was admittedly in their custody. So if not directly, by their omission they have contributed to the custodial killing of the subject,” it said.

To bring home its point, the state commission has quoted the words of chief minister himself. “The death of Anjum (Nazim) Rashid in police custody is a gross human rights violation and inexcusable. Things like this cannot be allowed to happen…I expect the police to do nothing less than make an example to those responsible so that nothing like this even happens again.

The commission report also asked the Director General of Police (DGP) to order a high level departmental enquiry against the police officers to ascertain their culpability in the incident. The commission has also directed its standing counsel to move the Court seeking leave in the proceedings of the case and request for proper and fair investigations. CNS

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