Burhan Encounter Flouted SC Guidelines: Baig


Srinagar: Senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Member Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Thursday, expressed doubts over the operation in which Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani was killed.

The statement has prompted the government spokesperson and State Education Minister, Naeem Akhtar, to announce a probe into the killing of Wani.  

“To my knowledge and reports, the operation in which Burhan was killed, was against the ruling of Supreme Court,” Baig said. “The constitution bench of the apex court, which consisted of five judges and headed by chief justice Verma has given the judgement about the standard operation procedure (SOP) how to carry an operation even when AFSPA in force.”

Beig, who is legal luminary said, “The judgment had been given by the apex court in response to Nagaland Human Rights forum’s petition. However, in Burhan’s killing the apex court judgement appears to have been violated. 

According to a claim of an Army General that the operation ended in just 3.5 minutes. Apparently, the militants were not given the offer to surrender.”

Asked what the apex court judgement states, the PDP MP said, “Wherever the army or police goes for any operation they have to take a magistrate along. Then in the presence of the magistrate, the militants have to be appealed in local language to surrender. If the militants refuse to surrender, then tear gas has to be used, so that militants are forced to leave the place where they are hiding. If, still it doesn’t work, then militants have to be warned and again. Then the forces have to shoot them on lower parts of the body.”

“However, in just 3.5 minutes of operation how could have been all these SOPs followed. It is clear that the apex court guidelines have been violated in Burhan’s killing, which is a serious offense,” Beig added.

He said that if the Chief Minister, if informed, would have also taken into the consideration the facts that there was reportedly no FIR lodged against Burhan. “It is one thing to kill a militant in an encounter when there is firing from both sides and it is a different thing to kill a militant without following the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and without giving an opportunity to the militant to surrender,” he said. 

Beig said the Chief Minister was not taken into confidence to carry out this operation against Burhan. “Had the Chief Minister been informed about the proposed operation she would naturally have taken into consideration various facts and issued appropriate directions to carry out the operation with minimum collateral damage and in accordance with law,” he said. “She would have taken into the consideration that the operation against Burhan could have serious and wide raging consequences especially when the Amarnath yatra is on and the tourist season is at its apex.”

To a question that the body of the slain militant bore very few bullet marks on his body and that he could have been easily arrested, Spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said that preliminary reports suggested it was a routine search and cordon operation based on a tip-off. “I don’t think they knew in advance who were hiding in the area,” he said. “We didn’t anticipate the fallout of Mr. Wani’s killing.”

Meanwhile, Baig has appealed to the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to appoint a high level commission to probe why Forces violated the apex court guidelines. “I am against all forms of violence, whether it is perpetuated by the youth or the government forces,” Baig said. “It has been seen that the main reason for spreading terrorism is when government or it forces violate the rule of law. The incident (Burhan killing) will not decrease the terrorism but further promote it.” 

He hoped that Chief Minister who has always campaigned for human rights will investigate the facts and take action against those officials found to have flouted the rule of law and created a situation where an unprecedented number of over 1400 people have been injured, hundreds of youth have lost their eye sights and dozens of people have died in a single-day operation. 

He also appealed to the Chief Minister to ensure that all the injured youth are provided complete and immediate treatment whether inside or outside the state. 

Beig said that the only silver lining in the entire episode is a clear warning by the Prime Minister that forces should not use excessive force in dealing with mob uprising. “This will strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister in dealing with current situation in the state,” he said. —With inputs from KNS




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