‘Murder’ of Forest Guard: Court summons key witness to record statement

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Bandipora: The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Bandipora Vijay Singh Manhas Thursday summoned one of the eyewitnesses to record his statement in a case related to murder of a Forest Guard whose dead body was recovered from Nallah Madhumathi in Bandipora two days after he along with two persons was picked up by an Army unit  on 24 March 1997.

Police station Bandipora had registered an FIR vide number 126/1997 under section 302,342 RPC after the complainant Feroz Ahmed Khan accused an Army officer of murdering his son in law. The report submitted by police in the court states that the complainant had claimed that on 24 March 1997, an Army party led by Major Gurng Singh of 23 Rashtriya Rifles stationed at Sonarwani Bandipora raided his house at Dardgund Mantrigam Bandipora during late hours and arrested his son-in-law Ghulam Hasan Khan Gujjar, a Forest Department employee. “The Army party also picked up my two neighbours Ghulam Nabi Khan and Bashir Ahmed Khan. After two days the dead body of my son-in-law Ghulam Hasan was found along Madhumati nallah with clear indications that he was tortured to death by the Army officer in his camp,” the complainant had stated adding that after the protest, the Army released remaining two persons Ghulam Nabi Khan and Bashir Ahmed Khan.

The complainant had further stated that his son-in-law was not affiliated with any militant outfit and he is survived by his wife and four children.

The Army in response to the FIR lodged against them to police claimed that they are unaware about the incident and have nothing to do with the killing of the forest employee. The complainant approached Bar Association prompting Advocate Mian Qayoom to file a petition in the High Court. The Court had sought response from the police while the Investigating Officer submitted that they closed the case on the basis of lack of evidence. The police had further submitted that despite their efforts no witnesses recorded their statement.

Before disposing off the case, the High Court gave the petitioner the liberty to approach the court of CJM Bandipra.

In the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, the petitioner represented by Advocate Reyaz Ahmed Shah and Advocate Bashir Ahmed Tak drew the attention of the court what they termed as ‘gruesome’ murder of Ghulam Hasan Khan. They informed the court that one of the two persons picked up by Army on that  fateful night is still alive and being a key witness his statement should be recorded.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Bandipora V.S.Manhas accordingly directed the police to present the key witness Ghulam Nabi Khan before the court so that his statement could be recorded. The case has been listed for next hearing on May 11 next month. (CNS)    

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