SHRC Orders Fresh Probe Into 24-Year-Old ‘Encounter’

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SRINAGAR: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has ordered a fresh probe into the 24 year-old “encounter” in which according to security agencies 20 “militants” had been killed. The encounter had taken place at Puner area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district on 17 October 1993 and out of 20 slain ‘militants’ the identity of only 7 had been ascertained.

Chairman SHRC, (retired Justice) Bilal Ahmed Nazki, while ordering a fresh probe into this “encounter” has appointed SP SHRC as the investigating officer.

“A report has been filed by the Deputy Commissioner Bandipora in which it is stated that during an encounter between militants and Security Forces, 20 militants were killed five of them were identified and bodies of them were handed over to their families who buried them,” the order read.

It further states that the report has been contested by the petitioner, who is chairman of International Forum for Justice – Muhammad Ahsan Untoo. “In these circumstances, let SP of the SHRC conduct an independent enquiry into the matter and file the report within six months time.”

As per the complaint filed by Untoo, forces allegedly killed 20 persons in Puner village on October 17, 1993 when forces cordoned off the area for search operation. The FIR was lodged in police station Bandipora vide number 1455/93 under section 307 RPC 4 TADA, 25/27 Indian Arms Act.

The complaint further read that during the course of investigation, one ASI Muhammad Yousuf and Muhammad Yaseen of police station Bandipora accompanied the Army troops on October 17 during the cordon and search at Puner at 6:30 am and “there was cross firing” between the alleged militants and the army and during which 20 persons were killed and one army soldier, namely Ram Das was injured.

The complaint further read that 20 persons killed during cross firing were labelled as militants and out of which only five persons were identified as locals and rest of persons were labelled as unidentified foreign nationals belonging to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Untoo told CNS that he will wait for the SHRC’s final report. He claimed that 20 persons killed in this encounter were those who had been put to death during Hazratbal siege in the same year.

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