State Versus Victims Of Its Violence

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Refusing to lodge FIR against one of its police officers who is accused of killing a youth despite court orders and the contempt proceedings, the Jammu and Kashmir government Monday moved the Supreme Court and sought a stay on the criminal proceedings.

On July 18, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar Masarat Shaheen had directed the SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar to register an FIR and called for the case to be investigated by an officer not below the rank of the DySP.  J&K government challenged this order before the High Court which found nothing wrong with the magistrate’s order as it dismissed the government petition.

Now apprehending the contempt proceedings against SSP and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir for not complying with the court’s orders, the government moved India's Apex Court.  

Appearing for the J&K government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the matter, including the complaint against DySP Yasir Qadri (accused of killing civilian Shabir Ahmed in front of his family), would be investigated. Rohatgi explained that the registration of fresh FIR against the DySP as ordered by the Srinagar Judicial Magistrate would have a ‘demoralizing effect’ on the police force and their operations to control violent and unruly demonstrations.

The bottomline is that the government won’t file FIR against the police official who is alleged by one Abdur Rahman Mir to have killed his son Shabir Ahmad Mir in cold blood inside their house.

Perhaps, never has there been a more instructive case in regard to the blatant disregard to the need for justice in the state. What would have a mere FIR done to the DSP and to the morale of the forces. If he is innocent, the subsequent investigation would have proved it, leading to his acquittal. But no, the government wouldn’t so much as a register the case. And that too against the police which isn’t protected by the draconian law like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

And this is being done by a party whose leader and the current Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has spent all her political life in opposition- and even in power as a party president without an official post– fulminating against this very denial of justice. Now in power she is stoically presiding over not only the killings and blindings of the youth but also ensuring that those allegedly responsible for the excesses are backed by the entire might of the state.  Things can hardly get more hypocritical than this. 

The irony only deepens further when the same leaders call for withdrawal of AFSPA from the state as it protects Army and paramilitaries from prosecution for the excessive use of force.

When push comes to shove, Army at least court martials its errant personnel, uninhibited  by the protections of AFSPA. But here the government is not ready even to file a mere FIR.  The state government has turned doing so into a prestige issue.  What might appear as a tug of war between judiciary and police is, in fact, a tragically ironical situation where an elected government is pitted against the victims of the state violence. The message is Orwellian in nature: that is, while the Chief Minister might talk of justice in cases of human rights excesses, in effect, it is little more than an empty rhetoric. What is more, it even means brazen denial of the otherwise promised justice.
 

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